Feline infectious peritonitis

Unregistered compounds GS-441524 and GC376 not approved for use by the APVMA 

On 3 September 2020, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (the APVMA) issued information advising that unregistered compounds GS-441524 and GC376, which are reportedly being used to treat cases of feline infectious peritonitis, are not approved for use by the APVMA. No manufacturing facilities are licensed by the APVMA to produce these compounds for use in animals.

Cat owners seeking unregistered products to treat their pets may result in unsafe or ineffective veterinary chemical products being supplied. This poses a risk to pets.

The unlawful importation of unregistered veterinary chemicals is an offence which can be subject to fines between $1,998 and $166,500, as well as civil or criminal penalties.

The APVMA works with a number of agencies and regulators, including the Australian Border Force, to detect importation of unregistered veterinary products. Where veterinarians in Victoria commit suspected offences, the APVMA will notify the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria (VPRBV) and may take further enforcement action.

Consent process for importing an unregistered veterinary product

Registered veterinarians may apply for consent to import when they have examined an animal that is under their direct care and, as the treating veterinarian, considers the use of an unregistered veterinary product is indicated over the use of an available registered product. Veterinarians remain responsible for complying with the relevant laws in their State or Territory.

The APVMA is an administering authority for the consent to import, although other importation approvals may be required depending on the product. The following form can be downloaded from the APVMA website and submitted via email to [email protected]: Application to consent to import unregistered veterinary products to be supplied and/or used under veterinary prescription.

Further information about importing veterinary chemical products and the APVMA’s compliance responsibilities is available on the APVMA website. Any enquiries about import consent for veterinary products can be directed to the APVMA Case Management and Administration Unit on +61 2 6770 2300 or [email protected].

Veterinary practitioners must comply with relevant VPRBV guidelines

Victorian veterinarians are reminded of their obligations under VPRBV statutory Guideline 6, Supply and use of drugs, scheduled drugs and other medications in veterinary practice. This guideline includes the statement: 
  • 'Under section 13(1)(a) of the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981, registered veterinary practitioners are authorised to obtain, possess, use, or supply most drugs and poisons for the lawful practice of their profession, i.e. for the veterinary treatment of animals under their care.'