Minister urged to resolve animal medicines issue

IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell has said the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue must resolve the ongoing issue of prescribing animal doses as the new EU Veterinary Medicines Regulation comes into force next year.

Mr. Farrell said the issue has been raised consistently by IFA to Ministers for Agriculture, our MEPs and senior DAFM officials since discussions started at EU level on this Regulation.

“The fact that these products will become POM products must not impact on how farmers have access to them or the competitive supply of them,” he said.

The IFA Chairman said there is scope in the Regulation, and in particular in the context of Brexit and the alignment of Northern Ireland and the Republic on animal health issues, to address this.

The regulation provides for suitably qualified persons other than veterinary practitioners to prescribe certain products and this must be availed of to align access for farmers north and south.

Pat Farrell said the unique situation on the island can and must be recognised to facilitate this approach.

The IFA Chairman said that it’s not acceptable for the Department of Agriculture to “bury their heads in the sand on this issue and blame the EU”.

“This has come about because of the Department of Agriculture’s refusal to address the issue at the drafting stage of the regulation.

“Licensed Merchant stores and veterinary pharmacies are key service providers to farmers. These businesses and the service they provide is under threat from this regulation if it’s allowed to proceed in its current format,” he concluded.