From November 1 2007 new controls on veterinary medicines will come into play in the UK that will mean tighter regulations for manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
These will ensure better quality standards, and stamp out the sale of poor quality or unsafe treatments.
The Small Animal Exemption Scheme applies to medicines intended for small species, including aquarium and pond fish.
This Exemption scheme will provide authorisation for the marketing of products, such as fish medicines, without a full marketing authorisation, provided certain conditions are met.
The legislation is designed to be a more manageable licence than the Veterinary Medicines Legislation but still requires manufacturers to apply for a licence and label under specific guidelines in order to meet the legal requirements.
Rupert Bridges, product manager at Tetra UK comments: "Retailers should check with their suppliers that they have the necessary licence to sell fish medicines, and that the medicines they are selling are also correctly licensed and labelled.
"After November 1st, retailers should not be receiving incorrectly labelled products, and they should make sure that both their wholesaler and the manufacturer of the medicine, is correctly licensed."
He continues: "The Exemption Scheme aims to make the legislation more manageable for suppliers of small animal medicines. This means products that are important for fish welfare can still be sold, whilst ensuring that unsafe or untested products come off the market.
"However, manufacturers still need to apply to be exempt and high quality standards must still be met as defined by the Veterinary Medicines Guidance Notes.
"The major investment for manufacturers and wholesalers is the requirement for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards to be implemented. These ensure the highest quality, and safest production of medicines."
Further information and a list of all the products marketed under this scheme can be found on the Veterinary Medicines Directorate website: www.vmd.gov.uk.