California Regulations

As of January 1, 2018, injectable and all other medically important antibiotics (MIADs) must be administered with a prescription that is ordered by a California licensed veterinarian within a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR).

This means that all MIADs not mixed in feed, including those that are federally labeled for over-the-counter sale, will now require a prescription to be sold or used in California

Many antibiotics already require a veterinarian prescription (i.e. Zactran, Nuflor). But for those that currently do not (i.e. LA200, Penicillin) now require a veterinarian prescription.

Over the counter antibiotics will still be available at a licensed veterinary food-animal drug retailer with a prescription from a veterinarian. Prescriptions may only be dispensed by: the prescribing veterinarian, a veterinary food animal drug retailer (VFADR), or a licensed pharmacy.

This is in addition to current Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) regulating antibiotics delivered through feed legislation on the Federal level that took effect January 1, 2017.

Vaccines are not considered antibiotics and are still be available for purchase over-the-counter without a prescription.

How to Access Antibiotics for Livestock

Veterinary Prescriptions

If a veterinarian decides that the appropriate use of a medically important antibiotic is necessary to treat, control, or in some cases prevent disease: before dispensing the drug, the veterinarian must offer the client a written prescription that the client may choose to have filled by any licensed facility or with their veterinarian.

Current Options for Filling Prescriptions

  • Veterinary Food Animal Drug Retailer (VFADRs): Licensed by the California Board of Pharmacy, can fill prescriptions for pick-up or delivery. Your veterinarian may be able to suggest a VFADR, or you can look up licensed VFADRs here.
  • Licensed Pharmacies: Ask your local pharmacy if they will carry veterinary livestock drugs. Search for your local licensed pharmacy at here.
  • Licensed Online Pharmacies: Several veterinary internet pharmacies are registered with the California Board of Pharmacy to fill prescriptions in the State.Your Veterinarian: Veterinarians may dispense medically important antibiotics to their patients within a valid VCPR.

For questions, visit the CDFA webpage for more information and updates or email





Drugs Medically Important Antimicrobials Same
Formulations In feed and water

All (injectable, intra-mammary, feed, water, etc.)

New Systems Feed: VFD w/VCPR

Water: Rx w/VCPR

Rx or VFD w/VCPR


Treatment, control and prevention Same


No use for growth promotion or feed efficiency

Same, plus preventative use in a regular pattern

Effective Date January 1, 2017

January 1, 2018


CPPA encourages all producers to establish a relationship with a veterinarian and is a resource for those that need help locating a local veterinarian. SB 27 does not change the nature of the veterinarian-client patient relationship. As long as that relationship exists, veterinarians can prescribe antibiotics to a producer under one prescription for up to a six-month period. Procurers must consult their veterinarian at least once annually, however producers will still be able to administers those products as currently done now.


FDA Guidance 213

Guidance 213: This action requests animal-health companies to outline intentions to voluntarily remove any production/growth-promotion uses from product labels of medically important antibiotics. The guidance also eliminates over-the-counter status of these medications and increases veterinary oversight for on-farm therapeutic use by requiring a veterinarian feed directive (VFD) for feed applications and a prescription for water treatments.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new policy for on-farm use of medically important antibiotics is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

For further information – NPB Antibiotics Resource Center 

The Antibiotics Resource Center is your one-stop place to find information and resources about responsible antibiotic use on the farm.

All feed use antibiotics that the FDA, World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers “medically important to humans” (such as Nuflor, avilamycin or Kavault, and tilmicosin or Pulmotil).

CPPA urges producers to become Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus) certified as the PQA Plus program includes best practices on swine health and welfare, public and worker health and environmental sustainability. The National Pork Board will revise and give added emphasis to antibiotic stewardship in the industry’s PQA Plus® program in 2016. This action will ensure that America’s pork producers understand the importance of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship and are prepared to implement the new changes to antibiotic use.

CPPA supports the use of antibiotics in pork production to treat sick pigs or prevent illness when needed. It is unethical to withhold treatment. Pork producers continue to innovate and find ways to improve pig health with and without antibiotics.