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All veterinary medicinal products must satisfy extensive safety criteria, which include safety to the animal being treated, safety to humans and safety to the environment before being granted a marketing authorisation. Efficacy and quality criteria must also be satisfied. There is also a specific requirement for manufacturers to supply data to address the area of the development of resistance new antibiotic products prior to authorisation.
Veterinary medicinal products containing antibiotics are available only on veterinary prescription. Where products have been authorised for use in food producing animals, the greater majority are authorised for the treatment of disease. This authorisation includes the treatment of groups of animals when not all individual animals have developed the symptoms of the disease. A minority of veterinary medicinal product containing antibiotics are authorised for the prevention of disease in farmed animals and these include those used to prevent mastitis in dairy cattle at drying-off.