Northern Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has warned urgent solutions are needed to facilitate the movement of veterinary medicines into the region as talks between the UK and EU appear to have stalled.
Industry data suggests that more than half (51%) of veterinary medicines would be discontinued in the region if the full Northern Ireland Protocol requirements are applied. The current agreed grace period in relation to these moves is set to expire at the end of this year.
“I find this matter most disconcerting, particularly as it affects some critical products such as cardiovascular medicines, anesthetics and vaccines, including those that prevent salmonella and E. coli,” he said.
“The discontinuation of vaccines in NI would have severe repercussions for animal health and welfare here and give rise to unnecessary animal suffering, not to mention the risk it would present to human health and trade.
“I have stated on many occasions that it is completely unacceptable that the Protocol would prevent NI from having access to the same veterinary medicines as other parts of the UK.
“It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that all possible steps are taken to prevent suppliers from withdrawing or reducing the range of products available in NI and protect the availability of medicines here.”
Mr Poots claimed that talks between the UK and EU on the matter had “stalled” and said that he had recently written to both the UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the European Commission calling for urgent action to find a ” sensitive, permanent and pragmatic solution”.