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When anti-parasitic drugs become prescription-only, substitute drugs will be approved in place of certain veterinary drugs from January 28, 2022.
This will keep competition for all suppliers of veterinary medicines for the benefit of Irish farmers and their livestock, said Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue.
He said he is trying to ensure that the prescription edition does not affect competitiveness in the market.
It seeks a basic prescription mechanism to ensure that competition continues while farmers continue to have sources of prescription available.
“I’m continuing to work on this and look at the situation to find a way to make sure we are compliant, that we are addressing antibiotic and anti-parasite resistance issues, that we are making sure that the market is competitive, and that we are do not burden farmers with costs. ”
He confirmed that all existing veterinary drug dealers, including licensed dealers and veterinary pharmacists, will continue to be legally allowed to sell anti-parasitic drugs.
“I fully support the report of the Joint Agriculture, Food and Marine Committee and the observation made therein that licensed dealers and animal pharmacists provide excellent service to farmers in rural Ireland.”
According to EU law, however, from next January antiparasitic drugs can only be dispensed on presentation of a veterinary prescription issued by a licensed specialist.
The minister said his department had sought legal advice to assess Ireland’s options for the separation of prescribing and dispensing of veterinary medicines, known as decoupling.
A decoupling does not appear to be feasible at the moment, however, since, in the opinion of the department, there is a sound veterinary evidence base for a partial or medication that they prescribe.
The minister noted that all other EU member states are already issuing medicines on a prescription basis.
In 2014 the EU developed appropriate veterinary legislation that is no longer based on the equivalent authorization system for human medicinal products.
Subsequently, on January 28, 2019, EU legislation on the authorization, use and monitoring of veterinary medicinal products came into force. It will apply to all EU member states from January 28 of next year.
So far, Ireland, like the UK, has benefited from a derogation from the prescription or sale of antiparasitic medicines by distributors. The exception is no longer available.
“Our legal advice is clear that it requires a prescription-only issue,” said the minister. Along with the EU regulation Ireland must comply with, he stressed that both antimicrobial resistance and antiparasitic resistance pose significant challenges for Irish farmers and human health that need to be addressed.
Minister McConalogue responded in the Dáil to Independent TD for Clare, Michael McNamara, who also said the purpose of the amended legislation is to reduce the overuse of antibiotics, antimicrobials and anti-parasites so we don’t build up resistance.
However, he demanded that the minister’s department continue to examine the decoupling of the prescriptions from the submission. He warned of a possible monopoly in which large conglomerates with their own veterinary practices have a monopoly on both the dispensing and the prescription of veterinary drugs.