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‘SQPs’ to dispense more pet medicines

THE DISTRIBUTION of animal medicines - such as flea control, and horse, cat and dog worming products via pet shops and saddlers, using the ‘Suitably Qualified Persons scheme’ (SQPs) is now recognised as one of the primary routes of supply, to animal owners according to the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority, (AMTRA) in its August 2007 newsletter.

The recent reclassification by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, (VMD), of some products, such as the flea treatment Frontline (Merial), from prescription only medicine, (POM) to VPS (Veterinarian, Pharmacist, Suitably Qualified Person) medicines, has been welcomed by the UK pet superstore chain Pets at Home.

Last week, Pets at Home announced its commitment to gaining SQP status for 300 of its stores’ employees. With 200 stores across the UK and a further 30 due to open during 2008, the retailer says it has realised the positive benefit of being able to stock and sell VPS medicines.

In a press release Kathy Toft, Head of Training, Pets at Home, said: ‘These changes represent clear benefits to our customers who will now be able to include these items as part of their regular shop in these stores, whilst also having access to fully qualified people who can give proper advice about animal welfare.’

Dr Roger Dawson, Secretary, AMTRA, has said: ‘As increasing numbers of qualified SQPs successfully come through the conversion route, and newly enrolled student SQPs qualify, we will see real benefits to those registered pet shops for pet medicines in the retail sector.’

It is expected that by the end of 2008 there will be around 2,900 SQPs on the AMTRA register. AMTRA says more medicines will soon follow the example of Frontline spot-on, being reclassified so that they can be supplied via the SQP route.