The concept for VetRx was brought about by a need for better veterinary prescription management in Australia. Unlike the human prescribing systems, veterinary prescribing was trapped using paper based systems. Record keeping was far from ideal, and prescription sharing between the vet, customer and pharmacist was time consuming, expensive and unreliable.
As VetRx development progressed, the many benefits that such an electronic prescribing system could offer the animal health industry soon became apparent. Not only in facilitating remote prescribing in the field for veterinarians, but through improving livestock owners compliance with meat and milk withholding periods. By integrating the VetRx database with the NLIS database, at-risk animals can not only be identified before leaving the farm gate, but again by the purchaser at the point-of-sale. Having such a robust system for capturing the use of prescription veterinary medicines in food producing species will maintain Australia’s status as the leader in food safety on the world stage.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a significant threat to public health. Without a method of capturing antibiotic prescribing data in animal species, it is difficult to know what contribution these practices are having on the development of AMR. Italy has successfully deployed a national veterinary prescription monitoring system similar to VetRx, with the primary aim of reducing inappropriate antibiotic use and decreasing antibiotic resistance. With widespread use of VetRx in the livestock industries, Australia too will be able to track antiboitic use and make evidence based decisions around what is working and what is not working in combatting AMR.