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Changes to the Accredited Internet Retailer Scheme (AIRS)

An internal review of AIRS to simplify the accreditation process whilst maintaining appropriate controls on the supply of veterinary medicines by internet retailers.

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The VMD welcome your views and comments by 20 May.

The Accredited Internet Retailer Scheme (AIRS) has been running for nearly three years and we consider it to have been a great success. With 35 accredited websites it’s been very effective in improving overall practice in the supply of veterinary medicines via the internet.

The scheme benefts consumers by providing reassurance that AIRS members take their responsibilities as animal health professionals and retailers seriously and are complying with the law.

As part of our continual review of processes, the VMD are always looking for ways to improve the services we provide.

A recent internal audit of our procedures for processing AIRS applications found that assessing them took up a considerable amount of VMD staff time due to:

  • some websites being very large with a wide range of products that are time-consuming to navigate
  • having to check that non-medicinal products are not making medicinal claims
  • preparing detailed feedback on each application and reviewing and following-up responses

In light of these findings, the voluntary status of the scheme and that accreditation is free, we do not consider the scheme is sustainable in its current form.

We’ve therefore carried out a review of AIRS to simplify the accreditation process whilst maintaining appropriate controls on the supply of veterinary medicines by internet retailers.

If you would like to see and comment on our proposals, please email the team at inspections@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk.

We would like to introduce changes to the scheme in the summer so we would be grateful for your responses by 20 May 2016. We are of course, happy to receive other feedback about the scheme at any time.

The current guidance on AIRS.

Published 28 April 2016