IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said the decision by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to defer implementation of the prescribing requirement for anti-parasitic products until June 1st, 2022 is a practical approach and recognises the concerns raised by IFA, Licensed Merchants and veterinary pharmacies.
He said the deferment is an opportunity to develop an approach that allows farmers avail of maximum competition in the supply chain, and that prescribing is not influenced by commercial interests.
“This must now be grasped to engage in meaningful discussions to agree a practical approach to this very contentious issue. It must meet the needs of farmers and provide clarity around the criteria that will apply after June 1st, to avoid unnecessary purchases of products in anticipation of the changes to the systems in place. This would be in nobody’s interest and must be avoided,” he said.
The 12-month validity of a prescription for these products is merely 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.
Pat Farrell said there must be a system put in place that rewards farmers for implementing best practice in the use of anti-parasitic products and ensures the active and ongoing involvement of licensed merchants, co-op stores and veterinary pharmacies, all of whom will be edged out of the market without changes to the intended approach.
“The guidance of the VCI to vets in terms of the knowledge required of the farm and the means by which this knowledge is garnered will be critical in providing for an open, transparent and practical prescribing system that ensures the active involvement of all stakeholders in the process,” he said.
Pat Farrell said concerns in relation to the NVPS which IFA has raised, particularly around the area of access to farmers data and the compilation of this data, must also be addressed in this timeframe.
Referring to the broader aspects of the Veterinary Medicines Regulation, Pat Farrell said assurances given to IFA that farmers will not be left without important treatment tools that are required in emergency situations must be clearly set out. This will ensure that farmers can have the medicines on farm to protect the health and welfare of the animals under their care.