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The new rules concerning antimicrobials including the 5-day prescription length will come into force from 28th January 2022.

Prescriptions that are currently in place with a validity of 12 months will expire on 2nd February 2022. This is particularly important for prescriptions issued under a Mastitis Control Programme (MCP). From 28th January, antibiotics can no longer be used as disease prevention method and the prescribing of antibiotics to individual animals or a group of animals will require the diagnosis of disease in those animals. On dairy farms this will lead to the introduction of Selective Dry Cow Therapy (SDCT) and consequently greater levels of milk recording across the national herd.

There is a short derogation until June 2022 for the implementation of the new rules upregulating antiparasitic medicines to POM status. This means that anti-parasitic products, including worm and fluke doses, lice and fly treatments and coccidiostats will remain available as over-the-counter products from co-op/LM premises, not requiring a veterinary prescription until 1st June 2022.

The derogation period will be required to fully integrate all software systems (Veterinary, DAFM, LM/co-op) with the new National Veterinary Prescribing System (NVPS). ICOS has received a commitment from DAFM that generic or interchangeable products will be available for dispensing by LM/Co-op premises but negotiations on this point continue. Prescription lengths for antiparasitic vet medicines will be 12 months, after June 2022. Paper-based veterinary prescriptions will remain valid for the time being and can be used at any veterinary medicine LM outlet. The new NVPS electronic prescription system can be used by prescribing vets on a voluntary basis until June to allow vets, farmers and co-ops to transition to the new system.