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Medicated Feedingstuffs Prescripions (MFSp) Best Practice

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) wishes to set out advice on best practice in using MFSp as we have been made aware of a number of concerns, from both vets and feed suppliers, about the prescribing and supply of in-feed veterinary medicinal products. On the basis of this information it appears that the procedures for completion of a Medicated Feedingstuff Prescription (MFSp) are not always being followed correctly. As a consequence "errors" are being made by both feed mills and vets during the prescribing and supply process.

At present the VMD understands that a practice exists of farmers approaching their feed manufacturer to act as a "middle man" to request an MFSp from their vet. The feed manufacturer then requests a prescription from the veterinary surgeon, often providing the vet with the details required on the MFSp, in the form of a template or partially-completed prescription. This chain of events is not consistent with best practice and has consequently resulted in a number errors and omissions in the completion of MFSp and the subsequent supply of medicated feed. Furthermore, a number of vets have contacted the VMD to complain that feed suppliers are not providing the relevant details when requesting MFSp to allow them to complete an MFSp correctly (e.g. details of animal numbers, feeding regimes etc) while other vets have contacted the VMD to complain the opposite is happening.

Reported errors relating to the filling out of prescriptions:

  • Incorrect levels of medication
  • Wrong Vm number
  • Incorrect feed named
  • No feed amount specified
  • Withdrawal period not, or incorrectly, filled out
  • Number of animals not filled in correctly either by guessing or habitual overestimation
  • Feed Mills drafting prescriptions for vets to sign.

The Farmer's Responsibilities:

Livestock farmers should contact their vet when:

  • they believe that they have a livestock health issue that requires veterinary intervention,
  • they have previously used medicated feeds and require further supplies but need a new MFSp

Farmers should only approach feed suppliers with orders for medicated feed once they have obtained an MFSp from their vet.

The Veterinary Surgeon's Prescribing Responsibilities:

The veterinary surgeon has sole responsibility for the correct completion of an MFSp. The vet may liaise with a feed mill over the completion of a particular prescription but should only accept a request from a mill if, in the vet's professional opinion, there is an actual need for a prescription.

The Veterinary Medicines Regulations make it clear that a veterinary surgeon should carry out a clinical assessment of the animal or animals, which must be under his care, before issuing an MFSp for a feed containing a POM-V medicine. Therefore, if there is any doubt, the vet should discuss the matter with the keeper of the animals and undertake a clinical assessment of the animals.

The veterinary surgeon must also ensure that an MFSp is sufficient for only one course of treatment. Such prescriptions may be valid for up to 3 months, so, if the length of time of the treatment of the animal is going to exceed 3 months, the veterinary surgeon must issue a new prescription. If the treatment requires the prescription to be valid for a period of longer than one month, the veterinary surgeon should specify on the prescription the amount of medicated feed to be provided each month as the supplier may not provide more than 31 days' supply at any one time. In specifying the quantity of feed prescribed, the veterinary surgeon must accurately take into account the number of animals to be treated, the quantity of feed to be fed per day and the duration of the treatment.

When a veterinary surgeon supplies an in-feed veterinary medicinal product (premix) to a home-mixer, he or she should ensure that the home-mixer is appropriately approved by the VMD and issue an MFSp to authorise its incorporation into feed.

Veterinary surgeons may produce their own MFSp form electronically, provided it follows the requirements as listed in the Regulations.

In summary, a veterinary surgeon providing an MFSp for a feed containing a POM-V premix must ensure that:

  • a clinical assessment has been made of the animals that are to be treated, and the animals are under the vet's care. The RCVS provides guidelines on what constitutes "under a vet's care".
  • all the required details on the MFSp are filled out accurately
  • the quantity of medication prescribed does not exceed that required for a single course of treatment
  • careful consideration is taken regarding the appropriateness of prescribing antimicrobial medicines and reduce the unnecessary risk of resistance

Further information of the prescribing of medicated feed can be found in Veterinary Medicines Guidance Note 17.

The Medicated Feed Manufacturer's Responsibilities:

Upon receipt of a valid MFSp from a veterinary surgeon the farmer should approach the feed supplier to arrange for the prescription to be fulfilled.

Reported procedural errors relating to the fulfilling of MFSps include:

  • the quantity of medicated feed produced exceeding that stipulated by the MFSp
  • the "editing" or "correcting" of an MFSp after receipt from a vet

Where a farmer approaches a feed supplier with an order for medicated feed, and does not have an MFSp, the supplier should direct her/him to consult the veterinary surgeon which the animals are considered to be under the care of.

In fulfilling an order based on an MFSp the feed manufacturer should ensure that the medicated feed supplied complies precisely with the prescription. It is an offence under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations to alter a prescription issued by a veterinary surgeon. The amount of medicated feed supplied should not exceed that required by the animals in question. If the quantity of medicated feed ordered exceeds the quantity prescribed, the feed supplier should discuss this with their customer, who should then discuss with their prescribing veterinary surgeon. If the veterinary surgeon considers it appropriate to increase the amount of feed prescribed the vet should instruct the feed manufacturer to amend their copy of the MFSp. All such discussions should be clearly recorded by the feed manufacturer.

In summary feed suppliers must ensure:

  • the medicated feed supplied under an MFSp does not vary from the directions of the MFSp
  • only sufficient medicated feed is supplied to fulfil the MFSp or, in the case of a treatment lasting more than a month, only a maximum of one months' supply is provided
  • that MFSp issued by veterinary surgeons for animals under their care are not amended without explicit directions of the prescribing veterinary surgeon.

Responsible use of antimicrobial medicines:

Antimicrobial resistance is of global concern in both human and veterinary medicine. The majority of veterinary antibiotics are prescribed and administered to livestock in medicated feed. In all cases where an antibiotic veterinary medicine is prescribed, farmers should consider reviewing the management practice of the animals in their care with a view to reducing the amount of prescribed antibiotics. The farmer's veterinary surgeon should be able to advise on all possible means to reduce the need for antimicrobial treatment of their animals in the future and the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance has produced information on the use of antibiotics for the different livestock sectors.

Last Updated: 17 September 2012

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