Dispensing human medication for animals
Technical advice is our interpretation of how professional standards apply in a particular situation. It is designed to help veterinarians deal with common issues in practice, using their professional judgement to apply the advice to their own situation. It represents our best efforts at the time of publication but standards and expectations change over time and particular care should be used when reading old advice.
What is the maximum period of supply when prescribing human medication for animals?
The maximum period of supply for prescription medicines is three months. This is outlined in Section three of the Veterinary Medicines part of the Code of Professional Conduct.
This means that you could authorise a prescription for a human medicine for one month, with two repeats. The Code expects veterinarians to use their professional judgement and discretion to decide the appropriate period of supply. This will depend on the dosage, animal type and weight, and any associated risks that need to be managed.
What about adding repeats to a script for controlled drugs?
The Veterinary Council’s understanding of the Misuse of Drugs Act is that veterinarians cannot prescribe repeats for controlled drugs, and can only prescribe enough of the controlled drug for one month. The requirements for supplying controlled drugs were amended in December 2022, and the part of the legislation that supports our understanding of the regulations is cl 31(1) (a)-(d).
Under a recent amendment to cl 31A, non-opioid Class C controlled drugs can be supplied by some prescribers, on three or more occasions at monthly or shorter intervals, for a maximum of three months. However, veterinarians are not included in the list of practitioners who can issue these prescriptions.