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FDA loosens federal VCPR requirements for now

Reacting to the COVID-19 situation, the federal agency gives veterinarians more say over extralabel drug use and veterinary feed directives.

FDA loosens federal VCPR requirements for now

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has temporarily suspended enforcement of a small number of federal veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) requirements to facilitate veterinary telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance “applies to extralabel drug use and the issuing of veterinary feed directives (VFD),” the American Veterinary Medical Association reported March 24.

The FDA document is available at https://bit.ly/2UdsVUB.

“The FDA recognizes the vital role veterinarians play in protecting public health,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “This pandemic has had impacts on many of our everyday lives and professions, and during this time, we need to provide veterinarians with the latitude to expand the use of telemedicine in the care of animals, not only pets but also the animals that produce our food.”

An FDA news release explained how the new guidance could be put to use.

“For example, the owner of a sick dog could share a video with a veterinarian,” it stated. “If necessary, the veterinarian could then prescribe a drug not approved for use in dogs or for that illness (extralabel use). As another example, a veterinarian could remotely examine and diagnose a group of food-producing animals with a skin disease, and then authorize the use of certain drugs in the animals’ feed.”

The VCPR guidance was implemented without prior public comment out of urgency, the FDA reported.

“Given the temporary nature of this policy, we plan to reassess it periodically and provide revision or withdrawal of this guidance as necessary,” the agency noted.

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