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VMD suspends veterinary products containing DEA

13th Aug 2018 / By Alistair Driver

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has suspended products for food-producing animals that contain the excipient diethanolamine (DEA), following an EU scientific opinion.

Products containing DEA have not been recalled so any product already at the wholesaler or vets can be distributed and sold. Any product containing DEA on farm can be administered to sick animals under direction from the vet, the NFU said.

However, any products containing DEA that have not yet been sold by pharmaceutical companies to wholesalers will not be eligible for sale.

Importantly, food-producing animals that have already been administered products containing DEA can still enter the food chain.

DEA is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which is licenced for use in cattle, pigs and horses. In cattle and pigs the products are used to treat the clinical signs of acute respiratory disease, often alongside other treatments to reduce the infection.

The Pig Veterinary Society said the product was not widely used in the pig sector and the impact of its removal on pig welfare would therefore be minimal. “But it does take a tool away from the armoury that may be used in the future,” PVS president Duncan Berkshire said.

The NFU has put together an online article which highlights the affected products for each sector.

The decision to suspend any products which contain DEA was based on the scientific opinion of the EU Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (the scientific advisory committee to the European Medicines Agency). Its report stated that there may be a risk to humans from consuming food from animals treated with products containing DEA.