The advertisement of antimicrobial medicines to farmers will be banned from 2013 in a bid to reduce antimicrobial resistance in humans and animals.
The change comes as a result of the European Commission’s view that the UK did not “correctly transpose” the EU Directive which prohibits the advertising of certain medicinal products to the general public.
The move has received mixed response from the industry with some organisations “disappointed” by the decision.
NFU animal health and welfare adviser Catherine McLaughlin said: “We are disappointed at the announcement, as we are not convinced there is any scientific evidence to support the decision made by the commission.
“This area has always been a sticking point with the commission and their announcement is not unexpected,” she said.
Ms McLaughlin believed, as an industry, farmers and vets were going to have to find different ways to open up dialogue. However, she stressed vets had a part to play in responsible use of medicines.
“Vets have a part to play in responsible prescribing and should feel confident enough in their dialogue to say why they are prescribing a product.”
However, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) welcomed the decision, saying advertising antimicrobials put “undue pressure on veterinary surgeons”.
BVA president Peter Jones said: “New antimicrobials are heavily advertised by pharmaceutical companies and there can be undue pressure put on veterinary surgeons by clients who want to try new products that promise good results, but which may not be appropriate from the point of view of responsible use.
“Ultimately, it is the veterinary surgeon who will make the decision on which veterinary products to use and vets will continue to work with their farm clients to ensure antimicrobials are used prudently and responsibly.”
Read more on how the EU has been cracking down on antimicrobial use
Have your say on how the UK should reduce antimicrobial use on FW’s Livestock Lines forum