The Secretary of State for Agriculture, Food and the Navy, Charlie McConalogue, has been asked to ensure that regulations on the prescription and sale of veterinary medicines north and south of the border are aligned.
From next year, EU rules will mean that products that previously did not require a prescription (e.g. anti-parasitic medicines) must be prescribed by veterinarians.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) urges the Minister to resolve the problem by then.
The fact that these products are becoming prescription products must not affect how farmers have access to them or how competitive they are.
Pat Farrell, IFA’s animal health chairman, noted that the EU regulation – particularly in the context of Brexit and Northern Ireland and the Republic’s approximation of animal health issues – allows room for maneuver to address this issue.
“The regulation provides that other qualified veterinarians can prescribe certain products. This must be used to direct access for farmers to the north and south,” said Farrell.
He argued that the “unique situation on the island must be recognized”.
It is unacceptable that the department should bury its head in the sand and blame the EU on this matter.
“This is because the department refused to address the issue during the draft regulation phase,” he said.
“Licensed retail stores and animal pharmacies are important service providers for farmers. These companies and the services they provide are threatened by this regulation if they are allowed to continue in their current format, ”he argued.
This subject will be discussed in the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and Marine Animals at 6:30 p.m. tonight.