FDA Rule Change for Livestock Antibiotics Coming in 2023

A rule change from the FDA, effective next summer means that ranchers and livestock owners will need a veterinary prescription to purchase certain medically important antibiotics like LA 200 and penicillin. Dr. Fred Gingrich (Ging -Rich) is the Executive Director of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), an organization representing 5,000 cattle veterinarians and vet students. He clarifies one of the biggest misconceptions about the rule.

“And I think probably one of the biggest points of confusion for producers, is that they believe mistakenly, is that a veterinarian is going to have examine every sick animal, and personally treat every sick animal, and that’s not the case. A lot of times veterinarians write protocols and provide advice for the most common conditions cattle have and producers then treat those animals based upon those protocols that the veterinarian has developed. We’ve been using prescription-only products in that manner for years and this will be no different.”

Dr. Gingrich says the process for obtaining these products will be similar to the process of buying prescription-only drugs producers are already familiar with.

“I don’t think its going to look any different for oxytetracycline than its gonna look like for any other drug that has previously been approved for prescription only status. You know most producers are familiar with using the prescription antibiotics Telithromycin or florfenicol and drugs like that which we use to treat pneumonia or bovine respiratory disease in cattle. Oxytetracycline can be used for foot root, uterus infections, pinkeye, respiratory disease and things like that. The only difference is you’re not going to be able to purchase that through your local farm store, you’re going to need to purchase through your veterinarian.”

He emphasizes that the most important thing producers can do is make sure they have a veterinary client patient relationship with their veterinarian so they can get those prescriptions.

“The first thing producers should do, is make sure that they have what we call a VCPR and that stands for what we call a veterinarian client patient relationship. And that means that a veterinarian has made timely and appropriate visits to the operation where the animals are held. Timeliness is often confusing, but it really depends on what a veterinarian is comfortable with for that farm.”

Dr. Gingrich says that the FDA’s rule is designed to preserve the effectiveness of the antimicrobials by preventing the development of resistance to those drugs.

“And so we want to maintain the effectiveness of these drugs and so that’s what antimicrobial stewardship is, its using the right drug in the right animal at the right time in the right dose with the right route. The FDA believes and AABP believes that veterinarians are very important for that to happen.”

Story provided by NAFB News Service and Brett McRae, Northern Ag Network, Billings, Montana