New veterinary medicines. Do we get what we need?

New veterinary medicines. Do we get what we need?

Each month in our newsletter we share the VMD’s list of recent veterinary medicine authorisations. The Vet Record and Vet Times do this too. Although they are new authorisations, not all the new medicines that are authorised are marketed straight away, and some not at all. For example, sometimes companies gain an authorisation that covers several EU member states including the UK but with no intention of ever marketing the product here. This makes it difficult to know what is really coming and when. And while the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 require companies to notify the VMD when a product is first marketed in the UK, this is not enforced and so does not happen. 

I often wonder how vets find out what products are available on the UK market, because as well as simply needing to know what there is, it is sometimes necessary in order to comply with the cascade rules. It might not be simple to know when something that previously has been prescribed as a human generic or a veterinary special is now available as an authorised veterinary medicine. Of course, if a product is being promoted, the manufacturer will want to make sure that vets know about it. But it must sometimes require a search in several different sources, including the VMD product database (which has everything in it – all authorised, but not all marketed), the NOAH compendium (all marketed, but not comprehensive), wholesalers, colleagues and online forums.

The medicines that are authorised are the result of the commercial ambitions of a company and the examinations of a regulatory authority. At about this time last year in a blog we did a little overview of the new products for companion animals that had come to market in 2017. We’ve done the same for new products for cats and dogs in 2018. A quick eyeballing of the new range shows that, in 2018, we got: 

around 60 new medicines authorised for cats and dogs (compared with around 40 in the previous year). Generic formulations make up most of the authorisations, around 40% which were parasiticides. There were few wholly new products (e.g. grapiprant tablets [Galliprant] and ropinirole eye drops [Clevor]); some new formulations (e.g. multidose alfaxalone [Alfaxan] and metronidazole oral suspension [Eradia]); some licence extensions (e.g. meloxicam [Metacam] for guinea pigs; imepitoin [Pexion] for noise aversion in dogs); and a few medicines authorised for veterinary use for the first time (e.g. tramadol [Tralieve; Tramadog) and prednisolone acetate [Cortico Veyxin].

Which products have made a real difference to you and your patients? What problems do you have finding out what is available? We’d love to know. Drop us a line at: andreatarr@veterinaryprescriber.org

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