The Off Licence use of Human Drugs in Veterinary Medicine

Obtaining a UK Marketing Authorisation in order to sell a drug for veterinary use costs millions of pounds for the manufacturer concerned. The possession of such a licence means that the drug concerned has been extensively tested, so that the practising profession can be confident as to its quality, safety and efficacy. However, the financial value of the veterinary pharmaceutical market is tiny, especially when compared with the human drug market. The inevitable consequence is that only those drugs that are anticipated to have considerable commercial sales value are ever put though the veterinary licensing process.


As a result, many drugs with no commercial attraction but with essential therapeutic properties are never licensed for veterinary use, leaving the veterinary surgeon to rely on the human equivalent medicine in order to treat patients effectively. Many of these drugs have been in regular use by the profession for thirty years or more. Therefore, we may ask owners to give informed consent for certain medications that we prescribe for their pets.


  • Piriton and Morphine are examples of this type of drug and both are commonly used to relieve distressing symptoms.


If you have any questions please do not hesitate to discuss with us.