News from AMTRA

Prescribing clarification

AMTRA has received queries relating to the Welsh sheep dipping programme, but the concepts involved are general so our guidance and interpretation is relevant to all - not just those in Wales or involved in sheep dip supply. 

In the Welsh dipping programme, both vets and RAMAs/SQPs are involved, and we've had reports where neither professional considers that they are prescribing, but supply of VPS medicines results. 

Vets are diagnosing on the basis of a clinical exam and discussing medicine options with the farmer, but they are not prescribing as outlined in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR). Some RAMAs/SQPs involved are apparently considering that the medicine has already been prescribed as a result of the conversation had with a vet and within the Scheme: this is a misunderstanding. 

AMTRA would like to make it very clear that, unless we're dealing with the rare circumstance that the RAMA/SQP is acting on the basis of a written prescription (that complies with the rules on written prescriptions in the VMR) from a vet, SQP or pharmacist, then that RAMA/SQP MUST ALWAYS prescribe in order to be able to supply. The VMR don’t allow for supply in the absence of prescription, and unless the prescriber and supplier are the same person, then a formal written prescription is required by the VMR. 

In summary, the RAMA/SQP is required to prescribe first and meet the legal and professional obligations of prescription as set out in the SQP Code of Practice – and in doing so must comply with the Mobile Sheep Dipping Code of Practice if multi-day supply via a contractor is involved.

More generally, away from dipping, this type of scenario is not that unusual – prescribers must always take into account the range of information available to them, which may include the results of testing carried out by vets as well as details of particular cases (including verbal or written recommendations) and use all this to prescribe the right medicine for the right animal/group of animals to be used in the right way.