Health Canada publishes consultation on antimicrobial changes

August 18, 2017

Antimicrobial resistance and the potential loss in the effectiveness of antimicrobials for use, especially in human medicine, is a high priority that is shaping regulation and policy in Canada and internationally.  ANAC has been communicating to members for some time anticipated changes to the dispensing of medically important antimicrobials (MIA’s) for livestock. On July 5th, Health Canada officially launched their consultation regarding this policy change.

ANAC has been working closely with Health Canada, CFIA, the Canadian Animal Health Institute as well as producer and veterinary groups to minimize the impact of the proposed changes to the feed industry. The changes proposed involve increasing veterinary oversight, including moving all MIA’s from over-the-counter (OTC) status to the prescription drug list (PDL), which will bring Canada in line with the EU, the US, and other major trading partners.

What will this change mean for the commercial feed industry? The following is a summary of the impacts:

  1. All feed medicated with a MIA will require a veterinary prescription. However, if the feed is on-label, and as per the CMIB, the prescription will only be required at the time of sale (i.e. dispensing). All off-label medicated feed will continue to require a prescription prior to manufacture (status quo).
  2. All forms of MIA’s will be impacted including, but not limited to, injectable, in- water and in-feed antimicrobials. Therefore, feed mills will no longer be able to sell antimicrobials directly to producers. All sales will need to go through an approved dispensing outlet. The definition of approved dispensing outlet differs based on provincial regulations; however, commercial feed mills are not included in such regulations at this time. Veterinarians and pharmacies are those approved in most provinces. Feed mills will only be able to sell MIA’s to producers in a medicated feed format (premix, supplement or complete feed).

It is anticipated that MIA’s will be moved from OTC to the PDL in early 2018 with a phase in period extending to December 2018.  ANAC will continue to work collaboratively with government and industry and will inform ANAC members of further developments. We are expecting the modernized Feeds Regulations to incorporate some changes related to the requirements for medicated feed prescriptions that will help relieve some burden for our industry. These include allowing electronic signatures and allowing prescriptions to include the number of animals to be medicated and the duration instead of tonnage.

For more details on the consultation, please click HERE.