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The aim of our Enforcement Team is to ensure compliance with the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR), in order to protect public health, animal welfare and the environment. We do this by seeking to eliminate the marketing and use of illegal veterinary medicines through advice, instruction and enforcement, whilst being:

Proportionate – any action we take will be representative of the determined risk.
Consistent – similar non-compliances will be dealt in a similar way.
Transparent – clearly set out and defined requirements.

We have a number of tools at our disposal to help us tackle non-compliances:

Advisory / Warning Letters - we seek to advise and instruct the individual or company on their responsibilities under the VMR.
Improvement notices – for persistent non-compliance or higher-risk cases, we can serve a notice requiring changes to be made. Failure to comply with an improvement notice is an offence.
Seizure notices – the VMR gives our inspectors the power to seize anything purporting to be an illegal veterinary medicine.
Details of improvement and seizure notices are published under Illegal animal medicines: seizure and improvement notices, prosecutions and police cautions’ under the GOV.UK website.

Referral to Defra Investigation Services (DIS) – we refer high-risk cases (such as those involving food producing animals, antibiotics, controlled drugs and fraud) to DIS, who carry out investigations on our behalf. Cases may be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), or the Sherriff in Scotland, to be considered for Prosecution.
Police cautions – we work with the Police who can issue cautions for breaches of the VMR, as well as for offences under other legislation, such as the Fraud Act 2006.
Illegal veterinary medicines sales via the internet – working with internet marketing platforms such as Facebook, eBay and Amazon we can remove illegal veterinary medicines from online marketplaces. We also have the ability to delete from the registry websites that breach the VMR.
We also tackle those individuals / companies that market non-medicinal veterinary products as medicines, either by the way such products are presented, or by the active ingredients they contain.

To help us enforce the VMR we work alongside other enforcement bodies such as the Police, Border Force, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Trading Standards, and the Health and Safety Executive to ensure the marketing, sale, supply and administration of veterinary medicines remains safe and legal.

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Details of notices and prosecutions can be found on (search ‘illegal animal medicines’)

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