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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Vet prescription rules deferred

New vet prescription rules, which were due to come into effect next January, have been deferred until June 1st, 2022.

That is according to ICOS, who issued a statement this afternoon (Wednesday), following a meeting with the DAFM.

The group stated that the rules are being deferred until the new national online e-prescription system becomes “fully operational”.

The new measures require that all dosing products and medicated feeds to have a prescription.

The products must be purchased from a trained individual in co-ops, veterinary pharmacies, and veterinary practices.

In a statement, Livestock and Environmental Services Executive, Ray Doyle, of ICOS, said:

“This is a reasonable accommodation around our concerns.”

Vet prescription rules

ICOS had communicated ‘alarm’ to DAFM regarding the full development and industry integration of the new National Veterinary Prescribing System/database (NVPS) and the fact that the veterinary profession would not be compelled to issue electronic prescriptions on this system on the original proposed date of implementation of January 28th, 2022.

“Any transition arrangement where a dual paper/electronic system is in operation would place a significant and unacceptable cost on co-operatives where personnel would require training in two systems.”

Additionally, Doyle argued, co-operatives would not be able to offer farmers alternatives or generic products if paper-based prescriptions were to remain widespread.

“The absence of an electronic prescription system would have left co-op branches at a competitive disadvantage compared to private veterinary practitioners who may prescribe products unique to their practices,” he added.

Doyle understands that the DAFM and the Health Products Regulatory Authority would meet over the coming weeks to discuss the offer of generics formulations in addition to alternative products to farmers after a prescription is issued.

ICOS has asked that until HPRA, and all software providers are integrated onto the new system, the veterinary regulation 2019/6 cannot be implemented in full.”

“Therefore, both HPRA and DAFM need to have their positions in place and to be fully aligned by June 1st on this issue.”

“2019/6 requires the widest availability of veterinary medicinal products to farmers to ensure fair market competition and to ensure timely administration of these products to animals requiring treatment. “

“All we are seeking is a level playing pitch in relation to the intended purpose and implementation of the new regulation,” concluded Doyle.

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