The Roadmap Forward: A Pan-Canadian Response to Address Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobial Use
March 24, 2016
It is a well-established that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a momentous threat to both human and animal health and well-being. This global threat is being addressed by countries around the world and Canada is no exception. In March 2015, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) released a Federal Action Plan on AMR and antimicrobial use which will require veterinary oversight of all use of medically important antimicrobials (Categories I, II, and III) administered to food animals in feed or water by December 2016. Since they impact directly on the use of antimicrobials in animals, the anticipated changes in regulation and federal policy, will have a profound impact on veterinary healthcare professionals and veterinary practice.
Developing a Pan-Canadian Framework
In response to the coming changes, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), through its Veterinary Pharmaceutical Stewardship Advisory Group (VPSAG), is working in close partnership with the Canadian Council of Veterinary Registrars (CCVR) to develop a roadmap to ensure veterinary professionals meet societal expectations in providing legitimate veterinary oversight on the use of antimicrobials in animals. The outcome of the efforts of VPSAG and CCVR and extensive stakeholder consultation is a document entitled, “Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobial Use – A Pan-Canadian Framework for Professional Standards for Veterinarians” (the “Framework)”.
The objective of the Framework is to provide a template of professional standards for the use of Canadian provincial and territorial veterinary regulatory (licensing) bodies in the development of regulations, guidelines, or bylaws pertaining to the professional responsibilities of veterinarians for providing oversight on the use of antimicrobials.
The professional standards outlined in the Framework are not binding, however, they are intended to encourage and lead to the development of consistent regulations across the country.
Key elements discussed in the Framework document include:
- compliance measures involving practice inspection and verification of standards pertaining to veterinary oversight
- the meaning of Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR)
- requirements for generation of a prescription
- differentiating dispensing and prescribing as professional activities of veterinarians
- elements of a medical record that must be maintained in regards to prescribing and dispensing activities
- transparency of prescribing and dispensing activities
- providing oversight of anti-microbial use and follow up
- extra-label drug use
- use of active pharmaceutical ingredients
- compounding activities by veterinarians
- engagement of veterinarians in antimicrobial use surveillance
- requirements for undergraduate and ongoing educational needs on the matter of antimicrobial stewardship
The Framework will be presented at a broad stakeholder consultation and discussion to take place at the CVMA Summit on July 7, 2016, during the CVMA Convention in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We hope you will be part of the discussions. All members of the veterinary community are encouraged to engage in the discussion, both with the CVMA and with their provincial veterinary regulatory organizations and special interest societies.
Canadian veterinarians are committed to overseeing the appropriate use of antimicrobials to protect the public and animals. The coming regulatory changes will require adjustments to how veterinarians practice and this is best achieved through a consistent, pan-Canadian approach.