January 2020 Law Changes

Law changes and how these might affect you.


As of January 2020, important changes have been made to the Code of Conduct that governs veterinarians. This Code has recently been updated and new regulations regarding veterinary medicines have come into force from January 2020. These are evidence-based policies designed to keep our animals, the people involved with treating animals, veterinarians, and the public safe from potential health risks, adverse event (side effect) risks, antimicrobial resistance risks, and to maintain good veterinary practice principles.

The most significant changes can be summarised as follows:

  • Use of Antibiotics (‘As much as necessary, as little as possible’)
    • Limit antibiotic use to those situations where the treatment is necessary to protect the health and welfare of the animal.
    • Do not use antibiotics routinely for preventative purposes in place of good clinical or animal husbandry practices
    • This means we must justify the use of our dry cow antibiotics using evidence such as SCC, numbers of clinical cases of mastitis, or farms that have been evaluated as extremely high risk by the veterinarian 


  • Veterinary authorisation for Future Supply of Restricted Veterinary Medicines (RVMs)
    • There have been some changes to the period of supply  
      • Renewal every 12 months for all other RVMs (unchanged)
      • Critically Important Antibiotics can no longer be placed on the same authorisation as all other RVMs, with a shortened period of future supply


  • Antibiotic advertising
    • We can no longer advertise antibiotic tradenames to the public
    • However, we can as vets recommend an antibiotic for a particular situation


  • Use of critically important antibiotics (CIA)
    • Critically Important Antibiotics are antibiotics that are considered critically important to human health and animal health as identified by the World Organisation for Animal Health and the World Health Organization.
    • We are now required to justify and provide evidence behind our choice to use these CIA (i.e. failure of a first line antibiotic, culture results). Convenience alone is not an appropriate reason anymore 


Your primary vet will guide you as to how these changes are likely to impact you and your animals during the authorization consult due before dry off.


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