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7 things you should know about the new EU vet rules

Minister Charlie McConalogue has confirmed the DAFM’s approach to new veterinary medicines regulations.

He has set out a roadmap for implementing the new EU wide Veterinary Medicinal Regulation 2019/6, which will come into effect on January 28th, 2022.

He confirmed that while the regulations enter into force on this date, in response to several stakeholders’ concerns on related matters, he is deferring the implementation of one aspect – anti-parasitic medicines can only be supplied on foot of a veterinary prescription – until June 1st, 2022.

“This will enable all stakeholders to make the necessary business and/or infrastructural adjustments that will ensure compliance with the Regulations,” the minister said.

The regulations will apply in full from June 1st, 2022.

He confirmed that the new National Veterinary Prescription System (NVPS) will be in place as planned for the end of January.

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However, he is also delaying its mandatory use for this same period.

He highlighted that the new veterinary medicines regulations are focused on:

  • Ensuring increased availability of veterinary medicines across the EU;
  • Addressing the key societal One Health One Welfare challenges of anti-microbial resistance;
  • Also, anti-parasitic resistance.

Veterinary medicines regulations

The “clear” roadmap the minister decided is as follows:

  1. The regulations come into effect on January 28th.
  2. The new requirements regarding the prescribing of anti-microbials, including antibiotics and medicated feed, will come into effect on that date;
  3. The requirement to only supply anti-parasitic medicines on foot of a veterinary prescription is deferred for four months – until June 1st, 2022. A prescription will not be required for such products until that date.
  4. The national mandatory requirement to use the NVPS is deferred until June 1st, 2022. Veterinary practitioners can continue to issue paper-based prescriptions in the current format until then.
  5. The NVPS will be available for voluntary use by vets from the end of January onwards. He said this will ensure that prescribers and dispensers are familiar with the system when its use becomes compulsory.
  6. Prescriptions issued by vets for anti-parasitic medicines after June 1st, will be valid for a maximum period of 12-months. The farmer can purchase antiparasitic medicines from his preferred supplier at the appropriate time throughout the period that the prescription is valid
  7. From June 1st, 2022, the regulations will be applied in full.

Minister McConalogue is in the process of finalising a proposal to introduce a large-scale Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) programme specifically focused on parasite control on farms in 2022.

No cost to the farmer 

In a statement on Thursday, November 25th, 2021, he said:

“The development of a structured parasite control plan is critical to addressing the increasing challenge of anti-parasite resistance.”

“This measure will allow farmers engage a specifically trained vet to provide advice on parasite control measures in their herd, at no cost to the farmer.”

The minister further confirmed that once a farmer has a relationship with a vet, that vet can prescribe in line with guidance provided by the Veterinary Council of Ireland with its soon to be published Code of Professional Conduct.

“A farmer can have a relationship with more than one vet,” he added.

The minister also confirmed that he is examining the issue of interchangeable anti-parasitics and how best to serve the industry.

He said he will make more information available on this in the coming weeks.

Benefits of amendments 

In concluding, he confirmed that he has made these amendments to assist farmers, vets, pharmacists and licensed merchants in transitioning to the new regulations.

“I recognise that the new veterinary medicines regulation mark a significant step-change for farmers, vets, pharmacists and licensed merchants – all of whom have, and will, play a key role in upkeeping the health of our livestock.”

“I have consulted widely and listened to a range of voices on the topic.”

He said he believes the above steps will ensure that:

  • Ireland addresses the challenge of anti-microbial and anti-parasitic resistance;
  • Support livestocks’ health and welfare, thus improving productivity;
  • Farmers continue to have access to a range of sales’ points thus helping competition;
  • Licensed merchants will continue to be a “trusted source” for animal health products.

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