Medicine use: Working with the professional experts

Certain medicines are prescription only and require input from a vet or a registered animal medicine advisor. Find out more about how these professional experts work with medicine use.

Back to: Responsible use of medicines in livestock

Working with your vet

Treatment with a medicine that requires veterinary prescription should only be administered with formal veterinary approval.

Vets are the only people allowed to prescribe prescription-only veterinary medicines (POM-Vs). All antibiotics for animals are POM-Vs.

Prescribing is deciding, instructing and recording which treatment should be given to an animal or group of animals. A vet should only prescribe after they have examined the animals or if they have personal knowledge of the condition of the animals to make a diagnosis.

In practice, this means a vet may only prescribe antibiotics or other POM-V medicines if they have been on the farm recently enough to be familiar with the management and disease situation on the farm.

It is a legal requirement for the vet to label all medicines with the name of the farm, the date, the animal for which the medicine is intended, the dosage and route of administration and the meat or milk withholding times.

The vet should also advise of any extra precautions to be taken when using the medicine.

The vet should only prescribe sufficient quantity of medicines to treat the affected animal or animals.

Working with registered animal medicine advisors (RAMAs)

A RAMA, previously known in the industry as specifically qualified persons (SQPs), can prescribe and supply certain veterinary medicines for the qualification for which they have obtained and hold a registration. These fall into three classes:

  • POM-VPS (Prescription-only medicine – veterinarian, pharmacist, SQP)
  • NFA-VPS (Non-food animal – veterinarian, pharmacist, SQP)
  • AVM-GSL (Authorised veterinary medicine – general sales list)

POM-VPS medicines include those for internal and external parasites and some vaccines. RAMAs must follow the Veterinary Medicines Regulations, a code of practice, and commit to continued professional development to ensure they prescribe responsibly.

Useful links

Using medicines responsibly

If you would like to order a hard copy of Using medicines responsibly, please contact or call 0247 799 0069.

Find out more about Veterinary Medicines Regulations