Beginning on June 11, 2023, over-the-counter antibiotics will no longer be available through traditional retail channels. Instead, these antibiotics will require a prescription from a veterinarian licensed in the state where the animals are housed.
To ensure continued effective antibiotic use in humans and animals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine developed a 5-year Veterinary Stewardship Plan to slow the emergence of antimicrobial resistance from the misuse of antibiotics in animals while ensuring the safe and effective use of medical antibiotics in animals and humans. Many antibiotics are crucial to human and animal health. This legislation ensures that these drugs are used under veterinary supervision, reducing antimicrobial resistance to these drugs in humans and animals. This new rule concerns the few antibiotics that remain available over the counter in the form of injectables, intramammary tubes and boluses.
You will no longer be able to purchase antibiotics from a farm store, mail order, or route driver unless you have a prescription from your veterinarian. Prescriptions must be filled by a pharmacist, but it is unlikely that local Wilco, Coastal or Tractor Supply stores will hire a pharmacist to fill veterinary prescriptions. You will be able to purchase these antibiotics from your veterinarian, or you can use a veterinarian’s prescription to buy from an online vendor. Some local pharmacies will likely carry more veterinary-labeled products. Work with your veterinarian to adjust how your farm will access animal health products. This legislation also applies to nonfood animal species like dogs, cats, camelids and horses.
Prescription-only items will include injectable tylosin (Tylan injectable and water soluble), injectable and intramammary penicillin (Albadry), injectable and oral oxytetracycline (Liquimycin LA-200, Noromycin 300 LA, Oxytetracycline HCl soluble powder), sulfadimethoxine and sulfamethazine (Albon, Sustain III bolus), gentamicin (Gentamicin sulfate injectable), cephapirin and cephapirin benzathine intramammary tubes (Today, Tomorrow). Most other products — including dewormers, fly preventatives, vaccines and coccidiostats — will not be impacted by these changes.
To obtain these drugs, producers will need a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) with a licensed veterinarian. A VCPR is considered valid if all of the following apply:
No! Now is not the time to stock up on over-the-counter products to avoid needing a prescription. Animal products have expiration dates and are sensitive to storage time and conditions. Purchasing products now may result in those products expiring, resulting in the wastage of products and money.
If you do not already have a VCPR and need to find a veterinarian who offers services to livestock owners here are some resources that may help you:
For additional information or questions, contact Charles T. Estill, VMD, PhD, Diplomate American College of Theriogenologists, Extension Veterinarian, Oregon State University.