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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Commentary on the FDA Veterinary Feed Directive

Jul 3, 2015

A program organized by Zoetis and the National Cattleman’s Beef Association facilitated discussion and practical examples relating to the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD).  A number of the questions and the responses by specialists including Dr. Mike Apley of Kansas State University are applicable to the broiler industry. 

Specific points include:-

  • Extra label use is banned under the new guidelines and it is therefore not a viable alternative to compliance with statutory label descriptions.
  • Each Veterinary Feed Directive issued by an independent Veterinary Practitioner or Veterinarian employed by an integrator must be specific for the state in which the Veterinarian is licensed.  This will have profound implications for large companies that operate in more than one state.
  • The Ionophore anticioccidials are not regarded as “medically important” (to humans) and therefore do not require a VFD prescription.  If however an antibacterial compound such as tylosin is fed concurrently with an ionophore, a prescription is required in accordance with the guidelines.
  • A Veterinary Feed Directive requirement allows a prescription to apply to more than a single flock raised on a complex and would not require a separate prescription for each contract farm.
  • The Food and Drug Administration requires that Veterinarians specify the duration of medication and the level of inclusion in feed.
  • At the Veterinarian’s discretion, a generic can be substituted for a branded product.  There are exceptions to this practice since if a combination product including a generic is not approved it would represent extra-label use and therefore is disallowed.
  • Veterinarians owning and operating their own facilities and by extension, applicable to Veterinarians employed by corporate entities, are able to prescribe antibiotics for their own operations or those under their control.
  • Veterinary Feed Directives do not represent “automatic authorization”.  Before prescribing an antibiotic the responsible Veterinarian must consider
    • Are non-antibiotic alternatives available?
    • Is the prescription in accordance with prudent use principles?
    • Will the prescription comply with the statutory withdrawal period before processing?
    • Could antibiotic resistance be facilitated through proposed medication?
  • The following compounds will convert from over-the-counter sales to prescription in 2017.
    • Neomycin
    • Tylosin
    • Virginiamycin
    • Tetracyclines

Copyright © 2023 Simon M. Shane