Guidance

Report illegal animal medicines

How to report suspected illegal activity and how the Veterinary Medicines Directorate will deal with these reports.

How to report

Report any information you have about suspected illegal medicines and breaches of the Veterinary Medicines Regulations to enforcement@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk.

What is illegal

Animal medicines which are advertised for the treatment or prevention of disease, or which have that function, must be authorised before they can be legally sold or used in the UK.

The marketing, importation, sale, supply, administration and possession of an animal medicine not in line with the regulations is illegal.

It is in the interests of public health, animal welfare and the environment that only authorised medicines are sold and used.

Further guidance can be found on the Legal controls on veterinary medicines page.

What we will do

Your information is vital in helping us eliminate the use of illegal medicines and enforce the regulations.

All information will be treated confidentially.

We consider carefully all information about illegal medicines given to us before deciding what action to take in line with our Enforcement Strategy.

Our priorities are determined by risk, with immediate action taken for high risk cases (eg food producing animals, potential harm to humans and animal welfare).

The different levels of action are:

  • advisory letters issued to those not familiar with the regulations/VMD
  • warning letters issued to those who should be aware of the VMD, businesses/persons who should comply with regulations
  • VMD inspector visits/investigation
  • enforcement notices (seizure & improvement)
  • Defra Investigation Services (DIS) investigation for high risk, food producing, repeat offender, fraudulent activity
  • police cautions following DIS investigation
  • prosecution by the Crown Prosecution Service

Further guidance can be found in Enforcement strategy for animal medicines.

Published 25 November 2014