Livestock Antibiotics

Updated Guidelines for Antimicrobial Drugs Used for Livestock 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has amended animal drug regulations to include additional oversite by licensed veterinarians. The change is expected to take effect June 11, 2023, but farmers are encouraged to begin preparing for the new management process now.

Guidance for industry #263 outlines a new process for authorizing the use of antimicrobials to treat animals raised for human consumption. The change requires livestock owners to obtain a prescription from a veterinarian before accessing antimicrobial drugs considered medically important to human health in forms, such as injectables and boluses, for their animals.

How can livestock farmers prepare?

  • By creating a care plan for the farm:
    • In the past, farmers have been able to purchase antimicrobial drugs from local feedstores, farm supplies or local co-ops. By June 11, 2023, many of these stores will stop offering products because they don’t have the framework in place to meet the legal burden of acting as pharmacies. Farmers can prepare for this transition by putting a care plan in place for their farms.
  • By establishing a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship:
    • Farmers should establish a veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) with a licensed veterinarian. Moving forward, antimicrobial drugs will require veterinarian prescriptions before being administered to food animals. Learn more about VCPR requirements here.
  • By becoming familiar with antimicrobial drugs impacted by the change:
    • Not every product will be moved to prescription-only status. Farmers can familiarize themselves with antimicrobial drugs effected by this change by clicking here.  For a full list of affected drugs, visit FDA’s website.

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