Registration and inspection of veterinary practice premises

How to register veterinary practice premises for veterinary surgeons to supply veterinary medicines.

Anyone wishing to operate a veterinary practice premises (VPP) from which to supply veterinary medicines must first register that premises with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

Information on registering a VPP is available on the RCVS website.

Registration fee

The registration fee is £38 which is payable to the RCVS on first application and then annually each April.

Inspection of VPPs

We conduct risk-based inspections of VPPs, to ensure they comply with the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 ( We do not inspect those that are registered with the RCVS as Practice Standards Scheme (PSS) premises.

Refer to the Inspection Criteria for Veterinary Practice Premises.


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Inspection fee

The fee for a non-PSS VPP is:

Type of premises inspected Fee payable (£)
Sites registered to supply companion animal medicines 536
Sites registered to supply equine medicines 536
Sites registered to supply livestock medicines 536
Mixed practice premises 698
Any other type of practice 451

A ‘mixed practice’ refers to a premises supplying veterinary medicines to livestock in addition to any other category mentioned in the above table.

You will be issued an invoice for payment after the inspection.

Main issues found during inspections

Controlled Drugs (CDs)

Most Schedule 2 CDs and some schedule 3 CDs are subject to secure storage requirements. This includes when they’re being stored in vehicles. Being in a locked vehicle is not enough. You must either store them in a locked glove compartment or in a locked container secured to the vehicle.

If you use Schedule 2 CDs, you must have a register in each place where they are stored, including vehicles. The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 specifies a strict format for the register. The register must be a bound book as loose leaf binders aren’t permitted and there must be no crossings out or overwriting of figures.

You can find further information in the guidance for Recording, using, storing and disposal of CDs.

Broach dates

Many products have a use-by period after the first withdrawal of a dose. This is the broach date. This is often 28 days but does vary so make sure you check each medicine carefully.

You will commit an offence if you use the product after this limit has been reached.

You must record the use-by or opened date on the product to demonstrate that you have not used the medicine beyond the broach limit. Inspectors will check that this is being complied with during inspections.

Imported medicines

You must have a valid special import certificate to import a medicine from another country to use in the UK. Only a vet can apply and further information can be found in the Import a medicine for veterinary use guidance.

If you import or store a product without a valid certificate then you will be committing an offence and the product may be seized.

Medicines records

You must keep records of all prescribed medicines bought and supplied, including administered, which must be available for inspection. This includes POM-V and POM-VPS medicines as well as medicines prescribed under the cascade. Guidance on the cascade can be found here.

The records must include batch numbers. For cats, dogs and other pets, it’s sufficient that you have a record of either when the batch was delivered to your practice or when you first start using it. If the details are on the Tote sheets you receive from the wholesaler, just keep those.

You must record the batch number each time you supply, including administer, a medicine to a food-producing animal. This includes horses that are not signed out of the food chain.

Further guidance on administering medicines to horses can be found on the Horse Medicines and Record Keeping Requirements page.

Labelling of cascade medicines

You are required to label a cascade medicine with specific bits of information which can be found in the VMR. The two pieces of information missed most frequently are the species of the animal being treated and the name of the prescribing vet. If the person printing the label is not the prescribing vet then they must make sure the prescribing vet’s name is included on the label, not their own name.

Withdrawal period

You must also record any withdrawal period. If you’re a small animal practice, you may sometimes treat chickens. While your clients may consider their hens to be pets, if they’re eating the eggs then those birds are ‘food-producing animals’ and you must keep appropriate records.

If you administer a medicine to a food-producing animal, you must either personally enter the details in the animal keeper’s records or give the details to the keeper in writing to enter, as soon as practicably possible.

Storage of medicines

You must store medicines within the temperature range specified in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC). These can be found on the Product Information Database.

Vaccines and some other products must be kept between 2 and 8°C and you must be able to demonstrate that these medicines have been stored correctly. The inspector will expect to see the maximum and minimum temperatures monitored and recorded every day.

Most other medicines need to be stored below 25°C. If either the premises or vehicle where you store medicines is likely to exceed this, their maximum and minimum temperatures should be monitored and recorded. If this shows the temperature does exceed the requirement in SPCs you will need to take steps to rectify this.

Labelling of medicines dispensed into smaller containers

If you supply a medicine in a different container to its authorised one, you must supply enough written information to enable your client to use it safely. This could include giving your client a copy of the product’s authorised package insert or leaflet, or providing your own written advice.


There are legal requirements for what must be included on prescriptions. You can find details of what must be included on a prescription on the Retail of Veterinary Medicines page.


You must carry out an audit of your prescription medicines at least once a year. Therefore, you must keep accurate records of all of your incoming and outgoing medicines. This includes any medicines you’ve disposed of due to breakages, spillages or because they’re out of date. We recommend you set up a dummy client called ‘Disposal’ on your practice management system and record all medicines that are unusable to this client. This will help you fulfil the audit requirements and can also help identify where medicines are being wasted.


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Updates to this page

Published 26 November 2014
Last updated 17 May 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect changes in the VMR.

  2. First published.

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