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Regulator highlights the risks of buying vet medicines from overseas websites

Date: 30 September 2010
Ref: 2010/11

Pet owners need to be aware that buying veterinary medicines from overseas websites may cost them more than they think.

Although individuals may only be importing medicines for their own animals, such importations can attract fines of up to $33,000 if the medicines are not registered in Australia.  Even if they are registered the law may require the importers to maintain records of any date controlled medications they import.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) recently became aware of a Brisbane based dog enthusiast who attempted to save money by purchasing a product from overseas.

“In this case the consumer ended up receiving a product that was past it’s expiry date and he couldn’t be sure it was safe to use,” Mr Neville Matthew, APVMA Compliance spokesperson said.

Because the product was purchased outside Australia, it was beyond the jurisdiction of the APVMA and the consumer had little recourse.

The APVMA has strict controls on the manufacture and regulation of veterinary medicines in Australia.  This ensures that these medicines are safe for pets when used in accordance with the label instructions.

“Purchasing veterinary medicines from overseas internet distributors is a risky business” Mr Matthew said

To avoid the risk of fines and using unregistered or ineffective products, consumers should research the product and the supplier first to check if they are purchasing from an Australian distributor or from overseas.

Veterinary medicines that are sold in Australia are more likely to be registered with the APVMA, and if a product is found not to be compliant, action can be taken against the supplier.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Media Inquiries

Phone: +61 2 6210 4812
Mobile: +61 467 726 486
Email: media@apvma.gov.au

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