‘Implementation of veterinary medicine changes require further discussion’

Further discussion is needed before the new EU veterinary medicine regulations are brought in in June, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has warned.

he comments came from the Association’s Animal Health Chairman, TJ Maher, who feels that a lot of work still needs to be done in advance of the June deadline. This, he said, will be to ensure the competitive supply of veterinary medicines for farmers, as well as the active involvement of licensed merchants, co-ops, and veterinary pharmacies in the process.

Mr Maher made his comments following the recent Antiparasitic Resistance Stakeholder meeting, and he is of the view that, to this point, very little progress has been made in ensuring a competitive supply chain is kept flowing for farmers, even though the group has been in existence since 2020.

“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,” Mr Maher said.

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

“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 National Veterinary Prescribing System (NVPS) exists primarily to deliver on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s obligations under the New Regulation to gather data on Antimicrobial Usage. This calls for a high level of testing and enhancements, including the provision for prescribing based on active ingredients to maximize the opportunity for competitive purchasing of products.

Farmer data concerns also exist with this new system, Mr Maher said.

In relation to the proposed TASAH funding that will be provided to vets for parasite control on farm visits, the IFA Animal Health Chairman said, unless fundamental changes are made to the programme, there will only be one beneficiary, and it will not be farmers.