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OVMA Position Statements August 2017

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OVMA 420 Bronte Street South, Suite 205, Milton, Ontario L9T 0H9 T. 905.875.0756 or 1.800.670.1702 (toll-free) F. 905.875.0958 or 1.877.482.5941 (toll-free) OVMA Position Statement – Extra Label Drug Use in Food Producing Animals Purpose: To promote the prudent use of drugs in food producing animals, thereby minimizing any risks of this practice to public health and animal safety and, at the same time, contributing to effective treatment of our patients. Background Extra label drug use (ELDU), often referred to as "off-label use" (or intended use of any drug,) whether it is a prescription drug or over-the-counter drug, in an animal in a manner that is not in accordance with the approved label or the package insert of the drug approved by Health Canada. ELDU specifically includes the use of any approved drug that is administered at a dose, a route of administration, a frequency of administration, and duration for a disease or to a species not explicitly stated on the label of the drug. This also includes the use of all unapproved drugs, including unapproved bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients (API's), compounded drugs - i.e. those that do not have a Canadian approved label, and drugs obtained from out of Canada for "own use" since these do not have an approved Canadian label. ELDU is an important tool in the practice of veterinary medicine for the humane care of sick animals within a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR), since it gives veterinary practitioners access to drugs which may be registered for human use or which may have limited registration for veterinary use. There are conditions and situations where there are no licensed products for certain things - e.g. no anesthetic products registered for swine and situations where the approved drugs are not efficacious at the label dose. Because veterinarians are required to treat a variety of species, comparative medical and surgical abilities are part of our training. Veterinarians have had the privilege of ELDU (with which to extrapolate, experiment and determine how best to treat certain species most effectively, and) especially for situations for which this in not a licensed drug or a labeled drug is not effective. At present, the problem is that the practice of ELDU in Canada is not confined to licensed, trained veterinarians but can be performed by a variety of people including intermediate health professionals, (pharmacists, animal health technicians) and laypersons (animal owners, livestock handlers). As a result of this practice, there are potential animal and human health risks relating to ELDU in animals – e.g. antimicrobial resistance, drug residues in food, negative effects on the animals causing pain & suffering. ELDU has the potential to undermine Canada's food animal industry by eroding consumer confidence and our ability to export to other countries.

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