Are you obeying the law?

Presenter – Stuart McArthur B.Vet.Med MRCVS, Holly House Veterinary Hospital and

It’s not often I’m surprised, but last week’s veterinary webinar organised by ‘The Webinar Vet’ genuinely surprised me. I’ll be honest, the thought of sitting down and participating in a veterinary webinar covering the safe and VMR (Veterinary Medicine Regulations) compliant dispensing in 2013 didn’t thrill me, but I knew it was important to ensure I was up to speed.

So, after consuming a very strong cup of coffee and watching the entire webinar, any concerns I had were completely dispelled by this interesting and, frankly, compelling session covering a topic affecting us all. Stuart McArthur led this veterinary webinar covering VMR compliant dispensing and by using his experiences within his own practice, made this session relevant to us all. Having invested a lot of time and money into building a state-of-the-art practice for himself and his colleagues, Stuart was keen to gain hospital status under the RCVS practice standards scheme. Whilst being inspected by the practice standards inspector, Stuart was asked to supply an appropriate label for products administered under the cascade as it was necessary his practice obeyed labelling laws.

Stuart runs a practice which treats a lot of exotic pets, so dispensing drugs under the cascade was very relevant to him. And, let’s face it, most of us – exotics practice or not, are dispensing drugs under the cascade. I would think the majority of us are aware that we should be using cascade consent forms, but how many of us are aware that we are legally required to provide a cascade VMR compliant label? After being asked to provide an appropriate VMR compliant label under the cascade, Stuart read the Veterinary Medicine Regulations, something he recommends we all do. It was clear that any label produced for products administered under the cascade should have a wealth of information on it, far more than is currently required for our standard labels. For example, the name of the prescribing veterinary surgeon and any necessary warnings for the user, target species, administration or disposal of the product should be included, and remember, this is a legal requirement.

Stuart also asked the participating audience whether they provided an SPC (summary of product characteristics) or similar datasheet for products where packaging has been breached, for example when dispensing ten Vidalta tablets into a brown bottle. Only 6 % of the audience said ‘yes’ and yet according to the Veterinary Medicine Regulations this is a legal requirement.

This is scary stuff, by not always complying with the Veterinary Medicine Regulations we are opening ourselves up to being sued, and in the litigious society we live in today, this is not something to be encouraged. Stuart explained that there are solutions to the problems of VMR compliance and these should come from our practice management systems by providing links to sites such as The Noah Compendium and Vet Formulary.

However, it is up to us to put pressure on our PMS providers to ensure the necessary updates are made. This discussion has been a real eye opener for me and I am in little doubt it is a topic that needs to be debated beyond the sphere of this veterinary webinar, but I have to give ‘The Webinar Vet’ a big pat on the back for getting the ball rolling.

The Stethoscope MRCVS