Under temporary measures, SQPs who are self-isolating or working from home need not be physically present to hand over or dispense wormers and flea treatments.

Changes to the way some animal medicines can be prescribed and sold during the coronavirus crisis have been introduced by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). 

The move has been welcomed by AMTRA, the body that trains and regulates SQPs – people legally qualified to supply wormers and flea treatments to animal owners. 

SQPs who are not at their usual place of work due to self-isolating or working from home are now allowed to prescribe remotely, provided strict procedures are observed.

Effective immediately, the new approach applies across the equine, companion animal and farm animal sectors until 30 April. It’s likely to be extended, given current uncertainties.

Normally, SQPs are required to hand over or despatch the medicine product personally, or be in a position to intervene if necessary, having already established the health status of the animal requiring treatment.

It is also the SQP’s responsibility to check the product after it has been allocated for supply to a customer, and be satisfied that the person handing over or dispatching it is competent to do so. 

Previously, these obligations required the SQP to be physically present to observe, and intervene if required.

“In the current circumstances, if the only available SQP at a registered premises is self-isolating, those requirements would prevent in-person supervision,” says Stephen Dawson, AMTRA secretary general. 

“Enforcing those rules would also limit the possibility for the SQP to be working from home in an effort to limit the number of people on the business premises.”

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