22 December 2000

…causing traceability worries

SELLING PML medicines over the internet is causing a stir within the industry with concerns focusing on the traceability of products and animal health and welfare.

Web-site sales are governed by the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) code of practice, which sets out guidelines for retailing outlets distributing animal medicines.

"The legislation in the UK is a sensible compromise on permitting bona-fide people access to PML products," says John Alborough, an animal health publisher.

All web-sites selling PML products must be registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) and only sell to UK commercial keepers of farm animals.

By taking County Parish Holding, herd and flock numbers and delivery address, people taking orders over the internet are able to check the legitimacy of orders. The sites also have to employ AMTRA-trained suitably qualified persons (SQPs) who must authorise every sale of PML products.

However, because of the distant nature of internet sales, industry groups are concerned that regulations could be flouted.

To maintain a complete traceability trail, all deliveries should be signed for by the purchaser. However, concerns are being raised that couriers will leave products in the wrong hands, says Roger Dawson of AHDA.

"Enforcement of delivery requirements is essential for direct selling so that medicines are left in responsible hands and in a secure environment."

Stephen Dawson, technical executive at the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH), which represents manufacturers, echoes this issue.

"Producers must also be sure that sites are selling bona fide products and are storing them correctly. If in doubt about legitimacy of operators, talk to the RPSGB."

Animal welfare is the main concern of the BVAs Bob Stevenson. "As long as there is adequate SQP input to educate producers on what they are buying and how to use it, we will be reassured.". &#42

PMLMEDICINECONCERNS

&#8226 Maintain traceability trail.

&#8226 Animal welfare questioned.

&#8226 Advice must be provided.