Press release

Pet owners given peace of mind over safety of medicines

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New controls to reassure people that the medicines they buy for their pets are safe were announced today by the VMD.

The controls will mean that only approved websites will be legally allowed to dispense and supply veterinary medicinal products. Customers will be able to see the approved status of veterinary medicine websites by looking out for a logo which all registered websites will display.

John Fitzgerald, Director of Operations at the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) said:

“Some medicines are being sold by ‘rogue’ traders and without any advice being provided. This irresponsible retailing of medicines risks animals’ health, which is why these new controls are crucial.

“From 1 April 2012, if people are buying vet medicines from online retailers they should only use websites registered with VMD so they know the medicine is correctly prescribed and dispensed for their pets.”

Following the implementation of the controls the online retailer will be expected to demonstrate compliance with the requirements set out in the Regulations concerning dispensing, supply and advertising of veterinary medicines.

The new logo will contain a unique number and will link back to the VMD website. The VMD will monitor websites selling veterinary medicines and if they are found to be operating illegally action will be taken.  The rules will only apply to UK based websites. It is recommended that the public buy veterinary medicines from UK approved retailers.

Following a consultation on a range of proposals the new Regulations will also continue to allow antimicrobials to be advertised to farmers.

Changes to the Regulations will be implemented on 1 April 2011. The controls on internet retailing of veterinary medicines will come into force one year later.


  1. Details on the consultation on the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2010 which finished in September can be found at:
  2. Extra details on the new Veterinary Medicines Regulations can be found at:
  3. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate is a Defra agency and more information on them can be found here: