Antimicrobial stewardship – who regulates what?

Veterinarians play a key role in the responsible use of antimicrobials in animals.

The NZVA have developed prudent use of antimicrobials guidelines and a traffic light use system to help veterinarians in their decision-making for antimicrobial use. While prudent use is important in reducing antimicrobial resistance, the most important influence is reducing use overall (i.e. using infection prevention and control measures).

The Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ) is responsible for regulation of the veterinary professions’ behaviours, by developing (often in consultation with the profession) and enforcing the Code of Professional Conduct. The Code is a gazetted document (i.e. a legal tool) that sits under the Veterinarians’ Act 2005. Veterinary behaviour that is regulated includes use of restricted veterinary medicines (RVMs), which includes antimicrobials.

The Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Group of the Ministry for Primary Industries (ACVMG) are regulators of veterinary medicines. They are responsible for enforcing the ACVM Act 1997 that controls how RVMs may be used (e.g. through the ACVM Notice), sold, imported and manufactured in New Zealand. ACVMG also investigate adverse events and complaints inside the scope of the ACVM Act 1997.