NOAH Revises Advertising Code of Practice

by 5m Editor
27 June 2011, at 10:21am

UK - The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has completed its annual review of its Code of Practice for the Promotion of Animal Medicines. The 22nd edition of the Code, which was first established in 1974, includes a number of changes that will come into effect on 1 July 2011.

One change to the NOAH Code spells out the way antimicrobial medicines are promoted to farmers, with a firm emphasis on correct use and education.

Advertisers will be required to describe the condition that the product aims to treat and to promote an understanding of the treatment of the diseases.

The phrase 'Use medicines responsibly' will always be included in the text, making the voluntary strap-line introduced in 2009 a formal part of the NOAH Code. As with all promotions to people other than prescribers, farmers will always be reminded to consult their veterinary surgeon.

Advertising text will always state clearly the name of the company and the brand being promoted, and promotion must not be designed to disguise its real nature.

Withdrawal periods for products will be stated but these must not be unduly prominent and not in a font size greater than the body copy containing recommended dosage and species description.

The change were proposed by NOAH within the formal response to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's consultation on the Veterinary Medicines Regulation 2010. The Minister decided in December 2010 to continue to allow the advertising of antimicrobial veterinary products to farmers.

Phil Sketchley, NOAH Chief Executive, said: "Whilst welcoming the Government's decision in December not to further restrict the advertising of animal medicines, we feel that the industry should take a proactive role to ensure the system works properly. We believe it is important for farmers, who are legally responsible for the health and welfare of their animals and the food produced from them, to be aware of the medicines that are available to protect the health of their animals, and at the same time, we want them to know that these medicines must be prescribed and used responsibly.

"The issue of antimicrobial resistance is one that affects us all. The way to promote best practice is through education by maintaining all lines of communication between farmers, vets, scientists and animal medicine producers.

"Antibiotics are essential for maintaining the health and welfare of all animals but, like any medicine, they need to be used responsibly in order to maintain their effectiveness and their availability for future generations," Mr Sketchley said.