Further discussions required over veterinary medicine changes

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THE IFA Animal Health Chairman TJ Maher feels there is still a lot of work to be done in advance of the June deadline to maintain the competitive supply of veterinary medicines for farmers.

e also wants to ensure the active involvement in the process of licensed merchants, co-ops and veterinary pharmacies.

The EU-wide Veterinary Medicinal Regulation 2019/2026 came into effect on January 28th. However, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine decided to defer the implementation of one aspect until June 1st, namely that anti-parasitic medicines can only be supplied on foot of a veterinary prescription.

Speaking following the recent Antiparasitic Resistance Stakeholder meeting, Mr Maher said that very little progress has been made to-date to resolve the substantive issue of ensuring the continuation of a competitive supply chain for farmers.

“The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has provided a window of opportunity by deferring implementation of this aspect of the new EU veterinary medicine regulations until June.

Unless meaningful engagement takes place with key stakeholders to resolve the competitive supply concerns for antiparasitic products, this action will have been worthless,” said Mr Maher.

Despite this group being in existence since June 2020, he said no tangible progress has been made in delivering on this critical issue for farmers, licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacies.

“All of the control is in the hands of one service provider who in turn will be provided with a significant advantage at the expense of licensed merchants, co-ops and veterinary pharmacies. This in turn reduces competition for farmers.”

Mr Maher added that the Antiparasitic Resistance Stakeholder Group has failed to date in delivering on its key function in relation to the new EU Veterinary medicines regulation.

“There is the opportunity to resolve this issue satisfactorily for all stakeholders but there needs to be a willingness from the Minister and his officials to facilitate this,” he said.