The Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Navy “must provide a timely response to the recommendations contained in the Oireachtas Joint Committee’s report on proposed veterinary prescriptions,” said independent TD Carol Nolan.
From the end of January 2022, new EU veterinary rules will apply to veterinary medicines – including commonly used antiparasitics – that result in certain products requiring a prescription before they can be bought by farmers.
The committee’s recently released report emerged following a series of meetings with key stakeholders including veterinarians, animal pharmacists, licensed traders, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM), the Health Products Regulatory Authority and others.
Veterinary medicinal product – reaction required
Now the independent TD for Laois-Offaly has asked the Minister of Agriculture to react to this report and the recommendations it contains.
Deputy Nolan spoke after working with the Independent Licensed Merchants Association (ILMA), one of the stakeholders involved in the committee’s work.
There is still uncertainty about the role of authorized distributors after the new EU rules come into force and whether they will still be able to dispense certain prescription drugs.
The report favors approved distributors as the approved delivery route for veterinary medicines after new regulations come into effect.
According to Deputy Nolan, ILMA welcomed the report and described the recommendations as “an irresistible opportunity for the department to accept and facilitate a transition to joint prescribing”.
The first recommended report is aimed at the DAFM and calls on them to ensure the continued existence of the existing network – including authorized dealers and animal pharmacists – as a recognized delivery route for anti-parasitic medicines.
The report also recognizes the importance of licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacists in providing a high standard of service to rural communities and agriculture – particularly by ensuring competition for veterinary medicines – and a source of employment.
According to Deputy Nolan, the ILMA is “cautiously optimistic that the Minister of Agriculture will accept the recommendations, as his department has already recognized the competence of the trained and qualified ‘responsible persons’ with the FETAC Level 6 examination”.
Deputy Nolan said:
“ILMA has been a staunch and articulate defender of its sector and its workers, and it is to be appreciated that it has defied any attempt to belittle its expertise or role in the community.
Minister McConalogue now needs to act quickly to reassure approved dealers that he will heed the committee’s recommendations, particularly the recommendation that the department ensure the continuation of the existing network of approved dealers and animal pharmacists as an approved delivery route for anti-parasitic drugs.
“It is also vital that we fully disclose the Attorney General’s response to the legal mandate presented by ILMA.
“This will be critical to the ability of stakeholders to address and understand any changes the minister may make to the regulatory and legal environment in the future,” said Deputy Nolan.