Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Veterinary products availability
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which it is expected to make basic veterinary products available to the farming community through licensed providers as heretofore, with particular reference to parasitic controls; if the European Union in general has adopted a policy in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Veterinary Medicines are regulated at a European level by EU Regulation 2019/6, which Ireland implemented earlier this year in S.I. 36 of 2022. This Regulation sets out that all veterinary medicinal products for food producing animals should be subject to a veterinary prescription unless certain criteria are met, as laid out in Article 34 of the abovementioned Regulation.
The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is the competent authority in Ireland for such decisions and they produced a report in 2019 which found that antiparasitic products for food producing animals do not meet these criteria and should therefore be upregulated to prescription only medicines.
All current suppliers of veterinary medicines will continue to be legally permitted to supply medicines including antiparasitics for food-producing animals. The only change is that these products will now require a veterinary prescription before supply.
My Department is actively working with all stakeholders to sustain a competitive market for the supply of these products.
The ambition is to ensure Irish farmers are empowered to purchase medicines from their supplier of choice. Initiatives such as the development of a National Veterinary Prescribing System (NVPS) will help deliver on this ambition. The NVPS will result in a prescription being made available to a farmer by choice of email or text. Farmers can continue to engage with Licensed Merchants, veterinary pharmacists or their veterinary practitioner in getting their prescription dispensed.
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