The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has suspended the sale of all injectable formulations of the vital painkiller Flunixin, without warning or consultation.
The painkiller is commonly used in horses with colic, crippling pain due to laminitis and those having surgery. It is also the only medicine licensed for treatment of sepsis, so is an important addition to any vets’ toolkit and the veterinary industry is shocked at its withdrawal without being warned.
The VMD’s decision reflects European Medicines Agency guidance relation to the human safety of the solvent used in the injectable formulation, not the active ingredient. There has not been a recall, so vets can use up their stocks, but there’s bound to be a disruption in the supply chain and eventually no supplies at all, unless the rule is overturned.
Jonathan Pycock, president of the British Equestrian Veterinary Association (BEVA) says: “We are fully supportive of all attempts to promote food safety. However, Flunixin is widely viewed as the gold-standard pain killer in horses, and BEVA is calling for an immediately but limited release of the drug for use in horses not destined for the food chain, as this is in the interests of animal welfare.” The equine veterinary profession has always been open to consultation with the VMD on a range of important matters relating to horses and their welfare, and BEVA is perplexed as to why there was a communication breakdown on this particular and important issue.
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