Defining veterinary medicines

Find out about the legal definition of veterinary medicines.

What is a veterinary medicine?

A veterinary medicine is an agricultural compound that you administer directly to or on an animal for one or more of the purposes listed in the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997 definition (see below). Other laws governing the use of veterinary medicines include the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 and the Biosecurity Act 1993.

The category of veterinary medicines includes a diverse range of products, from antibiotics to shampoos for dogs. If you are unsure of your product’s status under the ACVM Act, we can do a class determination for you. There is a fee for this service.

Definition of agricultural compound

The ACVM Act defines an agricultural compound as:
"... any substance, mixture of substances, or biological compound, used or intended for use in the direct management of plants and animals, or to be applied to the land, place, or water on or in which the plants and animals are managed, for the purposes of:

  1. managing or eradicating pests, including vertebrate pests; or
  2. maintaining, promoting, or regulating plant or animal productivity and performance or reproduction; or
  3. fulfilling special nutritional requirements; or
  4. the manipulation, capture, or immobilisation of animals; or
  5. diagnosing the condition of animals; or
  6. preventing or treating conditions of animals; or
  7. enhancing the effectiveness of an agricultural compound used for the treatment of plants and animals; or
  8. marking animals; and includes
    1. any veterinary medicine, substance, mixture of substances, or biological compound used for post-harvest pest control or disinfestation of raw primary produce;
    2. anything used or intended to be used as feed for animals; and
    3. and any substance, mixture of substances, or biological compound declared to be an agricultural compound for the purposes of this Act by Order in Council made under subsection (2)".
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