In 2020, the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI), imposed a period of suspension from practise on practitioners for reasons including the prescribing of remedies to animals which were not under the care of the vet.

Suspension sanctions were imposed on four vets in total, which were then confirmed by the High Court.

VCI inspected 86 veterinary practices during 2020 in association with the VCI certificate of suitability, a certificate required to be held by each practice in Ireland.

VCI CEO and registrar Niamh Muldoon said: “The Council has clear and strict rules in place when it comes to the prescription of veterinary medicines,

“The council will continue to ensure that veterinary practitioners are operating at the highest ethical standards through education and enforcement in this area.

New regulation

Meanwhile, VCI is currently engaging with stakeholders in considering the definition of various terms contained in the EU Veterinary Medicine Regulations 2019/6.

The regulation which is set to come into force in January 2022, will restrict the use of veterinary medicines, antibiotics and antimicrobials in food producing animals.

The new regulation is being brought in to combat the ongoing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The main drivers of AMR are the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials.

Code of conduct

Vets can only prescribe and dispense prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics, to animals that are under their care.

All vets in Ireland are bound by the Veterinary Council’s Code of Professional Conduct, which sets out the specific requirements which must be satisfied in order to discharge the privilege of prescribing veterinary medicines.

This code of conduct is currently being updated, with the last substantial review taking place in 2010.

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