About Veterinary Medicines
Prescription only medicines (POM-V)
Products classified as a POM-V (Prescription Only Medicine) can only be supplied if you have a valid written veterinary prescription. Veterinary prescriptions must be written in accordance with UK regulations and signed and dated by a Veterinary Surgeon who is registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and practicing in the UK.
Each prescription is valid for a maximum of six months from the date it is signed, or less if indicated so by your vet. This is restricted to 28 days for Controlled Drugs, which are regulated under the Controlled Drugs listed in Schedules 2-4 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (further information on this is provided below).
VetUK can only issue up to the quantity of medication indicated on the prescription within the valid period. Any repeats allowable on the prescription must be ordered within the valid period. No medication can be issued against a prescription after the expiry date as it is no longer a valid document. We are unable to issue repeats against a prescription for controlled drugs.
Each prescription is a legal document containing the written instructions your Vet has provided outlining which medication is needed, the amount to be supplied, the dosage, whether it is eligible for repeats or not and how many, details about the animal under treatment, the Veterinary Surgeon who has prescribed it and confirmation that the animal is under their veterinary care. It is illegal to alter the details on your prescription. Please go back to your vets is you believe something is incorrect.
If the vet deems that your pet requires treatment with a Prescription Only Medication, then they are legally obliged to issue you with a prescription if you request one. The vet can make a reasonable charge for providing a written prescription. They cannot prevent you from purchasing your prescribed items elsewhere.
Whilst VetUK cares about the health of our customer's pets, we cannot issue or supply Prescription Only Medicines without a valid and completed prescription. We would recommend that you purchase medicines for acute conditions from your vet, to avoid any delay in your pet receiving the required treatment. For chronic conditions that require long term treatment then you can normally save money by buying from VetUK.
For most Prescription only medicines you can upload a scan or photograph of the prescription when you place your order. For Controlled Drugs we must receive the original prescription in the post.
VetUK is registered as a Veterinary Practice with the RCVS and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). Our premises reference number is 6588469, which can be verified by calling the RCVS on 020 7202 0707. We do not appear on the RCVS Veterinary Practice search facility as we are not a Practice where people can bring their pets. VetUK's resident RQP (Responsible Qualified Person) is the company owner and registered Veterinary Surgeon Iain Booth (reference number: 6126243). This can be verified on the RCVS website.
Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is the government agency responsible for protecting animal health, public health and the environment in relation to the use and manufacture of veterinary medicines in the UK.
The Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs) for all the medicinal products sold on VetUK are available from the Veterinary Medicine’s Directorate Product Information Database or from the links in each product page.
Authorisation and classification of veterinary medicines
Any product in the UK that makes a veterinary medicinal claim must be authorised. You can tell if a veterinary medicine is authorised as it will include English language labelling that it is important that you read and understand. The label will include a unique UK marketing authorisation number, which will appear in one of the following formats:
- Vm 04321/4001
- Vh 05467/4007
Alternatively, the product may include a statement "The veterinary medicine is marketed in accordance with Schedule 6 of the Veterinary Medicines Regulations - Exemptions for small pet animals" or similar on the label and packaging.
There are four classifications of authorised veterinary medicines:
1. Prescription-only medicine - Veterinarian (abbreviated to POM-V)
2. Prescription-only medicine - Veterinarian, Pharmacist, Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) (abbreviated to POM-VPS)
3. Non-Food Animal - Veterinarian, Pharmacist, Suitably Qualified Person (SQP) (abbreviated to NFA-VPS)
4. Authorised Veterinary Medicine - General Sales List (abbreviated to AVM-GSL)
You can use the VMD's Product Information Database to check if a product is authorised and its classification, or to search for a UK-authorised veterinary medicine. The search facility allows you to search by trade name, active substance, species, legal classification and many other options. Each product has a Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs) that tells you all about the medicine.
It is an offence to:
1. Alter a prescription issued by a vet, pharmacist or SQP e.g.
- change the date the prescription was signed
- change the quantity of the product
- include additional medicines
2. Fraudulently produce a prescription e.g.
- forge a prescription
- forge the signature of a vet, pharmacist, or SQP
- send the same prescription to multiple retailers
All prescriptions are carefully checked and any suspect prescriptions are reported to the VMD or the police.
In the event of any adverse reaction or lack of efficacy to any medicinal product, it should be reported to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. Details of how to do this and the required information can be found on the VMD website. You should also report it to your vet and seek their advice.
General complaints regarding veterinary medicines
If you have a complaint regarding Veterinary Medicines which you feel that VetUK has not answered adequately you can contact the Veterinary Medicines Directorate for further advice.
Please be aware however, that this relates to complaints regarding Veterinary Medicines only.
Some Prescription Only Medications (POM-V) are Controlled Drugs (CDs) which are substances defined in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (MDR) 2001 and the MDR (Northern Ireland) 2002. Some of these are widely and routinely used in veterinary and human medicine. In the UK, the Home Office has responsibility for the regulations on the storage, supply, dispensing and destruction of CDs.
Controlled Drugs require a hard copy of the original prescription to be posted to us before we can despatch your order. The initial quantity of medication allowed on the prescription must be purchased within 28 days of the date of the prescription. Repeats cannot be issued against a controlled drug prescription.