Animal Health

More to be Done to Maintain Farmer Access to Essential Veterinary Medicines – IFA

IFA Animal Health Chair TJ Maher has said that while progress has been made in relation to the new EU Veterinary Medicines Regulations, there is more to do to ensure farmers have fair and competitive access to the necessary products to treat their animals when required.

He said it is vital for farmers to have medicines on hand to treat animals when issues arise on the farm.

“The Department of Agriculture have confirmed to IFA that farmers are allowed hold a quantity of products on farm for emergency use which is particularly important during periods like calving and lambing when both farmers and vets are extremely busy,” said TJ Maher

The IFA Animal Health Chair said it is concerning that some vets are not providing this service to their farmer customers due to either a lack of understanding of the clearly set out Department of Agriculture guidance on the issue or in an attempt to add further costs to the process for farmers.

“IFA worked closely with the Department of Agriculture to ensure farmers would be allowed have these important medicines on farm for use when needed and it is not acceptable that some veterinary practises are not providing this to their farmer customers,” he added.

The IFA chairman has called on the Department of Agriculture to ensure all vets correctly reflect the agreements reached on this issue.

“Farmers work tirelessly to protect and maintain the health and welfare of animals under their care. The assurances provided to IFA that farmers will have access to vital treatment tools must be clearly set out by DAFM to ensure farmers have equal access to services throughout the country” he said.

Referring to the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue’s decision to defer implementation of the prescribing requirement for anti-parasitic products until June 2022, he said that it was a practical approach but meaningful engagement with stakeholders will be essential to resolve to competitive supply concerns for antiparasitic products.

The 12-month validity of a prescription for these products is a continuation of the current requirements for POM products and does not resolve the substantive issue of maintaining competition in the supply of veterinary medicines to farmers.

All stakeholders including farmers, license merchants and veterinary pharmacies are prepared to put in the work to find a practical solution to address the competitive supply concerns through the vehicle of the Antiparasitic Resistance Stakeholder group. The Minister and his officials must utilise this stakeholder engagement to resolve the substantive issue of ensuring the continuation of a competitive supply chain for farmers.  The active involvement of licensed merchant and veterinary pharmacy expertise and the availability of new technology within the sector will be vital for effective parasite control and management on farms.

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