Recommendations made on Veterinary Medicines Regulation

A new report by the Joint Agriculture and Marine Committee on the “Proposed Veterinary Medicines Regulation in Ireland” has identified key findings and recommendations for the Veterinary Medicinal Products Regulation, which is due to come into force in January 2022.

The regulation regulates the authorization, use and monitoring of veterinary medicinal products in the EU.

It came into force in January 2019, but will not apply in the EU member states until January 28, 2022.

The report recommends:

  • The Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine ensures the continuation of the existing network with approved dealers and animal pharmacists as a recognized delivery route for anti-parasitic drugs. This ensures fair competition and access to farmers and products is expertly managed by trained responsible persons.
  • Recognizing the importance of high-level services that licensed merchants and animal pharmacists provide to rural communities and agriculture.
  • Forwarding of the department’s legal advice request on Article 105 (4) of EU Regulation 2019/6 to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. For the sake of transparency and fairness, this advice should be shared with all relevant stakeholders.
  • Give farmers the right to instant access to recipes. The committee says the introduction of the regulation in Ireland could create problems with getting prescriptions on time as the demand for access to veterinarians will increase.
  • To study the tendency for corporations to buy multiple veterinary practices in one area, resulting in a monopoly of services. And as a result of the expected change, a monopoly on brands of veterinary drugs. Both problems will cost farmers significant amounts. There is a need to ensure fair competition and that farmers across the country have equal access to veterinary services.
  • Veterinarians shouldn’t list their favorite branded drugs in their prescriptions to customers. This would allow farmers to purchase a generic version of the drug at a lower cost and, depending on the product, purchase the product from an approved dealer or animal pharmacist if they prefer.
  • There is a need for public awareness regarding antimicrobial and antiparasitic resistance and the difference between the two needs to be highlighted.
  • The separation of prescriptions and levies, as advocated by ICOS, ILMA and IPU, has proven its worth. Other EU Member States such as Denmark, Sweden and Italy have implemented this option.

Cathaoirleach Committee Jackie Cahill said that given the importance of the regulation, the committee agreed to prioritize the issue and hold a series of meetings to review the challenges that stakeholders are facing and the changes they are making to the agricultural sector will bring with it to investigate.

“The committee recognizes the role of veterinarians, animal pharmacists and licensed dealers in providing advice and animal health products,” he added.

The committee and I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has come to testify before the committee.

“The stakeholder discussions were critical to the development of this report.

“From the committee meetings, the joint commitment of all interest groups to the provision of excellent services and the care for the health of the animals is commendable.

“The committee took into account the evidence presented during the hearings and compiled ten recommendations, observations and conclusions.

“Some key questions arose regarding the role of the ‘responsible people’, the possibility of anti-competitive practices and increased costs for farmers.

“While we welcome the mood of the regulations and their efforts, the Committee and I hope that the Minister will take our key findings and recommendations into account when implementing the regulations.”