Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration published the final rule for its Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), which brings the use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals under veterinary supervision so that they are used only when necessary for assuring animal health. “That means using a product for a specifically-identified disease, at the right dose, and for the period of time stipulated on the product label,” wrote Michael R. Taylor, FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, in an agency blog post. The rule outlines the process for authorizing use of VFD drugs and provides a framework for veterinarians to authorize the use of medically important antimicrobials in feed when needed for specific animal health purposes. Vets will only be allowed to prescribe antimicrobials to an animal within the context of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), which includes sufficient knowledge of the animal, visits to the farm, and follow-up evaluation or care. All veterinarians will need to adhere to a VCPR that includes the key elements in the VFD final rule. “The VFD rule respects the diversity of circumstances that veterinarians encounter on the farm, but also ensures that their oversight is in line with nationally consistent principles,” Taylor wrote. FDA released the proposed VFD rule in December 2013 at the same time it issued Guidance for Industry #213, which calls on animal pharmaceutical companies to remove growth-promotion claims from medically important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals. “Antimicrobial resistance is everyone’s problem,” Taylor wrote. “It requires determination and cooperation to make the changes needed to protect the utility of these life-saving drugs.”