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FDA Issues Important Changes to Over-The-Counter Antimicrobials

FDA Guidance 623, announced in June 2021, will effectively move all over-the-counter antibiotics to prescription status by June of 2023. The primary antibiotics affected by this change, which are currently widely available at feed stores, are penicillin and oxytetracycline.

These antibiotics are medically important to human medicine and will no longer be available without oversight from a veterinarian.

Prescription medication can only be legally dispensed or used in the context of a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR). This is important for producers to keep in mind when planning for the treatment of sick animals, especially in emergency situations. Having an established relationship with your veterinarian allows the option of picking up medications when appropriate. This is because the veterinarian is familiar with you and your abilities to both evaluate and safely treat an animal; familiar with your animals, including restraint facilities, exposure to other animals, and intended use; and familiar with your knowledge of food safety and human safety when handling animals and medication. With the upcoming changes, there is increased importance to establishing and maintaining a relationship with your local veterinarian so that you have the tools available to keep your herd healthy.

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