On June 11, 2023, the next step in the effort to curtail antimicrobial resistance will come from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidance for industry #263 (GFI 263). Under the guidance, medically important antibiotics that were traditionally available for over-the-counter purchases will require veterinary oversight. The swine industry affirms that the responsible use of antimicrobial compounds is important for human and animal health under the We Care Ethical Principles of Public Health and Animal Well-being, respectively. For the majority of swine producers, the only change will be product labeling, because purchases of antimicrobials already occur through their herd health veterinarian within the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (abbreviated as VCPR).
Veterinary oversight and best practices within the VCPR are important to overall herd health. Open communication between the caretakers and the veterinarian and regular visits allows the veterinarian to evaluate the health status of the herd. By reviewing production, vaccination, and treatment records, the herd health veterinarian is able to make herd health recommendations.
A valid VCPR is present when:
- A veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of animals and the need for medical treatment.
- The client (the owner of the animals or other caretaker) has agreed to follow the instructions of the veterinarian.
- There is sufficient knowledge of the animals by a veterinarian to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animals.
- The practicing veterinarian is readily available for follow-up in case of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen of therapy.
The “One Health” shared effort, including medical doctors, patients, veterinarians, and farmers is essential to maintain effective antibiotics for the treatment of disease. This next step follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration establishment of the veterinary feed directive process regulating medically important feed-grade antibiotics. The full list of the 91 products is available and includes any product containing penicillin, tylosin, oxytetracycline, lincomycin, or gentamicin.
Producers should confirm the status of their VCPR before June by contacting their herd health veterinarian.