Medically Important Antimicrobials Changing to Prescription Status

Animal Owner
FAASTsheet 06 /

What is Changing and When?


A veterinary prescription will be required to obtain any drug product containing a medically important antimicrobial (MIA).

MIAs are specific drugs (such as Penicillin) that are preferred options for use in human medicine, with few alternatives. See Animal Owner FAASTsheet #3 for more on MIAs.

When? December 1st, 2018

Why Did This Change?

Extensive use of antimicrobials in humans and animals has increased the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, making our current antimicrobials less effective in the prevention and treatment of illnesses.

Veterinarians play an important role in overseeing when and how antimicrobials are used in animals, which can help avoid inappropriate and unnecessary use of these important drugs, while still protecting animal health and food safety.

What Do These Changes Mean for Animal Owners?

As of December 1st, 2018:

MIA drug products (including injectable, oral, topical and DIN drug premix for mixing in feed yourself) are only available for purchase once you have a veterinary prescription for your animals.

  • You are no longer able to import veterinary drugs including MIAs from other countries, even for use on your own (food) animals. What does this mean? See Animal Owner FAASTsheet #4.
  • These changes do not affect access to non-MIAs such as ionophores and coccidiostats.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

You need to establish a Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) in order to get a prescription from a veterinarian to access any prescription drugs. Check Animal Owner FAASTsheet #5 to learn more about a VCPR.

Prescription drugs can only be sold or dispensed by a veterinarian, a pharmacist, or by a federally registered commercial feed mill if the drug is first mixed in feed.

  • Buying from a livestock medicine outlet – You are no longer able to purchase any medically important antimicrobial drugs at these locations.
  • Buying from a veterinarian – You will be able to buy MIA drugs from your veterinarian who prescribed the medication. The medication may be dispensed by your veterinarian on-farm, picked up at the veterinary clinic, or your veterinarian may also offer delivery to your farm. Talk to your veterinarian about the options available to you.
  • Buying from a pharmacist – You may be able to buy some of these products from a pharmacy IF the pharmacy carries veterinary products AND you have a prescription from your veterinarian.
    • However, at this time, there are very few pharmacies that carry veterinary products licensed for use in farmed animals.
  • Buying from a feed mill – MIAs that are already mixed in feed can be purchased from a feed mill but you will need to provide a prescription from your veterinarian.
    • You are no longer able to purchase MIA drugs to mix in feed yourself (i.e. a DIN drug premix) from livestock medicine outlets or feed mills, but you can purchase them from your veterinarian once you have a prescription.

What Should You Do Right Now?

If you did not establish a VCPR with a veterinarian in your area before December 1, 2018, do so immediately. See Animal Owner FAASTsheet #5 for more.

Talk to your veterinarian about treatment and prevention protocols on your farm. This includes talking about more than just antimicrobials and other drugs!

  • If you don’t already have specific treatment protocols, work with your veterinarian to establish some.
  • If you do have treatment protocols, review them with your veterinarian to see if there are any ways they can be improved, in particular if there are ways to decrease reliance on antimicrobials.
  • Talk about the antimicrobials and other prescription drugs that you use for your animals on a regular basis, when and how often they are used, and ways your veterinarian can help make sure you can access these products in a timely way when they’re needed.