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Responsible use of animal medicines

One of NOAH’s key roles is in supporting the responsible use of animal medicines, and on this page we provide links to useful information for producers, prescribers and users of animal medicines.

Responsible promotion of animal medicines is the first link in the chain towards responsible use. The NOAH Code of Practice for the Promotion of Animal Medicines outlines how animal medicines companies that produce medicines are required to promote their products in a responsible manner for the benefit of their customers and the health and welfare of animals.

The Code also requires that promotions of prescription only medicines to people other than prescribers should also contain a reminder to consult their veterinary surgeon. Advertising text should always state clearly the name of the company and the brand being promoted, and promotion must not be designed to disguise its real purpose.

The animal health sector has worked collaboratively to produce much useful material to support responsible prescribing and use. The NOAH Compendium includes information to support prescribing decisions and the VMD gives guidance on the prescribing cascade.

Vital information about the responsible use of medicines is given by prescribers and on product labels and packaging to inform farmers and pet owners who have responsibility for the animals in their care – this forms part of the Marketing Authorisation of animal medicine and should be followed.

Appropriate medicine promotion, prescription and use will, on occasion, change and develop. NOAH will keep the information provided on this page up to date and under review. (We cannot, however, take responsibility for updates to the websites of partner organisations.)

NOAH projects: Preventing disease and responsible use

The Animal Medicines Best Practice (AMBP) programme was developed by NOAH in partnership with stakeholders along the food supply chain to improve co-ordination and consistency in approach to the responsible use of medicines. Training modules are available for dairy, beef, sheep and pig farmers on the responsible use of antibiotics.


NOAH’s Livestock Vaccination Guideline provides support to vets, SQPs and farmers, to help improve the health and welfare of UK sheep and cattle and support farm resilience and sustainable improvements in productivity.



NOAH’s ‘Paws to Protect‘ campaign gives advice to pet owners on the importance of reading and following packaging instructions, and provides a downloadable poster.


Responsible prescribing and use of medicines

RUMA uses evidence-based information to promote the livestock industry’s responsible use of medicines. The organisation has an ongoing focus on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as well as supporting the message of responsible use beyond AMR, and is committed to supporting a One Health strategy.

Their information includes guidelines on responsible antimicrobial use to support a One Health strategy for AMR.

Inspired by the success of UK farm animal sectors in reducing antibiotic use, RUMA Companion Animal and Equine is drawing on those learnings to help protect important medicines for future human and animal use. This collaboration covers the responsible use of medicines in dogs, cats, rabbits, small mammals, exotic animals kept as pets, and equids.

Farm Vet Champions is a major collaborative project, spearheaded by RCVS Knowledge, to empower the veterinary community in a united front to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It builds on the Arwain Vet Cymru project and adds to the work being done by its Veterinary Prescribing Champion Network. Details can be accessed here to support the Farm Vet Champions ethos of plan, prevent, protect, including its SMART goal dashboard.

Become an Antibiotic Guardian

To slow resistance we need to cut the unnecessary use of antibiotics. People, including the veterinary profession, farmers and pet owners, are invited to sign the pledge to become Antibiotic Guardians


Storage and disposal

NOAH has produced infographics for farmers on the storage and handling of vaccines – these are downloadable from our resources: Storage and Handling



Useful links for prescribers and users of animal medicines

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is an Executive Agency sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that protects animal health, public health and the environment.


A unique initiative involving organisations representing every stage of the “farm to fork” process, RUMA (The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture) Alliance aims to promote a co-ordinated and integrated approach to best practice in the use of medicines.

RUMA Companion Animal and Equine

Inspired by RUMA, covering the responsible use in dogs, cats, small mammals and exotics kept as pets.

Farm Vet Champions

Farm Vet Champions is spearheaded by RCVS Knowledge to empower the veterinary community in a united front to tackle AMR


SCOPS is an industry led group that represents the interests of the sheep industry. It recognises that, left unchecked, anthelmintic resistance is one of the biggest challenges to the future health and profitability of the UK sheep industry. NOAH is amongst the representative organisations.

COWS: Control of Cattle Parasites Sustainably

(COWS) is an industry stakeholder group which aims to promote best practice in the control of cattle parasites. NOAH is amongst the representative organisations.


CANTER (Controlling ANTiparasitic resistance in Equines Responsibly) aims to lead a coordinated approach to antiparasitic use and stewardship to combat AR in equine parasites in the UK. NOAH is a member of the core Steering Group.

HSE (Health and Safety Executive)

The HSE is the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness.

Environment & Sustainability Campaigns

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