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Advertising of Veterinary Medicines

The Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR) set out the advertising restrictions for veterinary medicines in the United Kingdom. The advertising restrictions aim to help safeguard and promote the responsible use of veterinary medicines.

Regulation 10:

Advertising the product

1.-(1) No person may advertise a veterinary medicinal product if the advertisement is misleading or contains any medicinal claim that is not in the summary of product characteristics.
(2) No person may advertise an authorised human medicinal product for administration to animals (including sending a price list of, or including, authorised human medicinal products to a veterinary surgeon or veterinary practice).
(3) Paragraph (2) does not apply to the holder of a wholesale dealer's authorisation who supplies a list of authorised human medicinal products, together with prices, to a veterinary surgeon for use under the cascade provided that-
(a) the list is sent following a request from the veterinary surgeon to whom it is sent; and
(b) the list states clearly that the product does not have a marketing authorisation as a veterinary medicinal product, and may only be prescribed and administered under the cascade.

Regulation 11:

Advertising of prescription products and products containing psychotropic drugs or narcotics
2.-(1)No person may advertise a veterinary medicinal product that-
(a) is available on veterinary prescription only; or
(b) contains psychotropic drugs or narcotics.
(2) In the case of a product containing psychotropic drugs or narcotics, paragraph (1) does not apply to advertisements aimed at veterinary surgeons or pharmacists.
(3) Subject to paragraph (4) in the case of POM-V medicines, paragraph (1) does not apply to price lists, or to advertisements aimed at veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, pharmacists or professional keepers of animals.
(4) No person may advertise anti-microbials to professional keepers of animals.
(5) In the case of POM-VPS medicines, paragraph (1) does not apply to price lists, or to advertisements aimed at-
(a) veterinary surgeons;
(b) pharmacists;
(c) suitably qualified persons registered in accordance with paragraph 14 of Schedule 3;
(d) other veterinary health care professionals; or
(e) professional keepers of animals

Regulation 12:

Defence of publication in the course of business
3. In proceedings for an offence under Regulation 43(g), it is a defence for the person charged to prove-
(a) that that person's business is to publish or arrange for the publication of advertisements, and
(b) that the advertisement was received in the ordinary course of business and the person charged did not know and had no reason to suspect that its publication would amount to an offence under these Regulations.

Definition of advertising

Advertising is considered to include anything that is aimed or designed to promote the supply, sale or use of a product whether or not for financial gain. This is regardless of the media used (e.g. TV, magazine, email or website).

Changes to the rules on advertising - from 1 October 2013

A letter went out to stakeholders on 11 October 2012 informing them of changes to the rules on advertising, including the restrictions on advertising antimicrobial POM-V medicines.

Educational material vs. advertising

Educational information, designed to give a balanced overview of the disease and all available treatments may be made available to the general public providing that product or brand names are not mentioned and all other advertising restrictions are adhered to.

Providing information on "cascade use" of authorised medicines

The VMD has received queries as to whether or not information on the use of medicines prescribed under the cascade may be made available to veterinary surgeons. We are therefore publishing some correspondence on the subject which hopefully will clarify the issue.


FAQ 16, 17 and 18 have been amended following feedback

For more information on advertising of veterinary medicines please contact the legislation team on 01932 338321 or Lea Reynolds on l.reynolds@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk.

Last Updated: 31 January 2014

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