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Veterinary medicines
Focus groups identify pressures to prescribe antimicrobials

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ALL sectors of veterinary practice perceive pressure from clients as a key influence on the prescribing of antimicrobials. Other common factors include product availability, economic drivers, antimicrobial efficacy, veterinary attitudes and customer relationships, as well as withdrawal periods and advertising.

These were the key themes to emerge from discussions that took place last year during a series of focus group meetings organised by Defra's Antimicrobial Resistance Coordination (DARC) Group. The DARC group considers emerging issues relating to antimicrobial resistance and identifies and prioritises how to take them forward. However, its membership does not include any practising veterinary surgeons, so it set up the focus groups to help ensure that any advice it might give was appropriate and practical. Focus group meetings were held between March and September 2012 to obtain an understanding of the current prescribing practices and pressures on six different sectors of veterinary practice – beef cattle and sheep; dairy cattle; poultry; pig; fish; and companion animal, including horses.

A document summarising the outcome of the discussions has recently been posted on the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) website. It …

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