About veterinary medicines in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom veterinary medicines are regulated by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate . Each medicine carries a named classification on the pack which designates the type of person allowed to prescribe or dispense it for you. The most common classes are POM(V), POM(VPS) and NFA(VPS).
These medicines can only be prescribed by a veterinary surgeon. They can also only be supplied or sold by
- a veterinary surgeon
- a registered pharmacist
Legally a vet can only provide you with a prescription for a POM (V) for your animal if he or she has recently seen the animal and carried out a clinical examination, or carried out an assessment of the herd or flock in the case of farm animals. If the vet has already made the decision to prescribe the veterinary medicine then you may buy the medicine from that vet or request a prescription for it to be supplied by another vet or by a registered pharmacist.
A pharmacist can only supply your medicine if you have a valid veterinary prescription. Generally a pharmacist will not have any veterinary training although a small number in the United Kingdom have studied for and passed the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Diploma in Veterinary Pharmacy which provides specific training on handling certain veterinary medicines.
POM (VPS) and NFA (VPS) medicines
These may be supplied by:
- a veterinary surgeon
- a pharmacist
- a SQP (suitably qualified person) registered with AMTRA and with a designation enabling him or her to supply medicines for the species of animal in which the medicine is destined for use.
Mostly POM(VPS) medicines are used in animals intended for food production although many medicines used in horses are also classified POM (VPS). NFA (VPS) medicines ("non food animal") are primarily medicines used in pets.
If you wish to know more about the individual details of a medicine license you may search for it and look it up on the VMD Product Information Database.
If you have purchased a medicine,something has gone wrong, and you suspect this to be due to the product, then please report this on the VMD Online Yellow Form. Please also notify the outlet from which you purchased the medicine that you have had a problem.
Other categories of veterinary medicines exist, for example those used as premixes in feed. For advice on these we suggest you contact veterinary practices or veterinary pharmacies in the appropriate sections.