29 August 1997

MAKE DRUG STORE SENSE

Correct drug storage and use will ensure producers are within the law, and it can also help cut costs. Jonathan Riley reports

FAILURE to store and administer animal medicines correctly is a false economy and against the law.

"Medicines – including wormers, vaccines, antibiotics and topical treatments – must be stored in locked cabinets to ensure children and animals cannot reach them," says Solihull-based vet Steve Borsberry.

Besides health and safety reasons, Mr Borsberry suggests incorrect storage may render medicines ineffective.

"Certain products may be light sensitive and need storing in cool, dark cabinets or they will be useless," he says.

Antibiotics may need storing at between 2C and 8C (35.6F and 46.4F) and so must be stored in a lockable fridge, used only for the purpose of storing medicines.

"There is a great risk of transferring some diseases to humans via contaminated food if the farmhouse fridge is used to store medicines," warns Mr Borsberry.

Medicine efficacy is also dependent on a stable fridge temperature, and regular monitoring should be carried out using an accurate thermometer.

"Poor storage, therefore, wastes the medicine purchase price and could incur far greater costs if animals thought to be protected then succumb to disease."

A medicines effectiveness can also be reduced if clean needles are not used and dirt is introduced to the remaining antibiotic or vaccine.

Cleanliness is vital from a welfare stance because disease can be transferred from one animal to another or dirt from the animals coat can be introduced, causing infection. Self sterilising automatic syringes should be used or, with conventional syringes, a fresh needle used for each animal.

"When administering medicines, data sheets must be followed to the letter and only experienced or trained personnel should be allowed to carry out treatment. It is also vital that the animal is correctly restrained."

"It is a false economy to try to save time by treating an animal while it is free in a pen," he says.

Injuries to stock and staff can be serious, and where accidental injection occurs to a member of staff, a doctor should be notified because some animal treatments are dangerous to humans.

After treatment, all medicine must be returned to the fridge or cupboard and its use recorded within 72 hours along with records of purchases, which must also be kept by law, says Mr Borsberry.

"When buying medicine, unauthorised sources should be avoided because medicines may be close to their use-by date or may have been stored inadequately and hence be ineffective," he warns. &#42

STORAGE AND USE

&#8226 Follow storage instructions.

&#8226 Monitor store temperature.

&#8226 Return medicine to store immediately after use.

&#8226 Lock stores.

&#8226 Follow instructions.

&#8226 Record use within 72 hours.

&#8226 Use trained personnel.

&#8226 Use clean sharp, needles.

&#8226 Dispose of spent containers and sharps.

STORAGE POINTS

Store in dark cupboard (8C-25C)

&#8226 Sedatives.

&#8226 Stimulants.

&#8226 Vitamins and minerals.

&#8226 Disinfectants.

Store in fridge (2C-8C)

&#8226 Antibiotics.

&#8226 All vaccines.

&#8226 Hormones.

&#8226 Iron.

Store in dark cupboard (8C-25C)

&#8226 Sedatives.

&#8226 Stimulants.

&#8226 Vitamins and minerals.

&#8226 Disinfectants.

Store in fridge (2C-8C)

&#8226 Antibiotics.

&#8226 All vaccines.

&#8226 Hormones.

&#8226 Iron.

Poor storage can reduce medicine efficiency, and can incur greater costs if animals thought to be protected then succumb to disease, warns Solihull vet Steve Borsberry.