IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said farmers will be the biggest losers in the proposed changes to the sale and supply of antiparasitic products if the issue is not addressed by the Department of Agriculture.
IFA has highlighted this issue to our MEPs, Ministers for Agriculture and senior Department of Agriculture officials throughout the legislative process of this new EU Veterinary Medicines Regulation.
Pat Farrell said if we do not align with the provision to allow Suitably Qualified Persons prescribe these products in Licensed Merchant stores similar to Northern Ireland, a two-tier supply system will come into effect on the island.
The IFA Animal Health Chairman said this will challenge the economic viability of licensed merchant stores, reduce competition in the supply of these products for farmers, and inevitably result in farmers having to pay more for the product in addition to possible prescription charges from vets.
“There is also a real risk of creating an incentive for an illegal trade in these products across the border as a result of the divergence in approaches between both jurisdictions. This would seriously undermine national efforts at developing a national co-ordinated strategy on parasite control on farms,” he said.
Pat Farrell said the Department of Agriculture has been acutely aware of these issues and the need to have them addressed at the drafting stage of the Regulation, but refused to do so.
He said the situation can still be resolved, if there is a willingness to so, by providing for Suitably Qualified Persons to prescribe these products in licensed merchant stores and veterinary pharmacies similar to what applies in Northern Ireland under this same Regulation.