By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Minister Coughlan signs Veterinary Medicines Regulations

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced that she had signed into law new Regulations on veterinary medicines.

Minister Coughlan said that the new comprehensive Regulations consolidate the legislative regime on veterinary medicines and transpose an EU Medicines Directive setting down the exemption criteria from the general prescription regime for veterinary medicines for food producing animals provided for in EU law. They also put in place a workable system for the prescribing of intramammaries and include a number of other amendments arising from the practical experience gained in implementing the regime in recent years.

With regard to the exemption criteria, the Minister said that, while decisions on the classification of veterinary medicines were ultimately a matter for the Irish Medicines Board (IMB), both her Department and the IMB were satisfied that the agreed EU criteria would not require the reclassification of veterinary medicines as "prescription only". In view of this, the Minister said that farmers will continue to get medicines such as wormers and certain vaccines on the same basis as at present.

Minister Coughlan also said that, as previously announced, intramammaries became "prescription only" from 1 January 2007 but implementation of that decision was postponed until 1 January 2008 to give the industry time to put the practical arrangements in place. In the meantime, her Department had engaged in consultations with relevant stakeholders in relation to the prescribing arrangements for this category of veterinary medicines. Under the arrangements in the Regulations, provision is being made for an alternative prescribing regime where the prescribing veterinary practitioner, as well as the farmer and milk purchasing co-op, have formally committed to a programme designed to reduce recourse to anti-biotic treatments. The Minister emphasised the important role of the dairy industry and the veterinary profession in promoting the prudent use of antibiotics and she expressed the hope that this would be one of the first issues to be examined in the context of the Herd Health Initiative currently under discussion. The measures in the Regulations do not in any way prejudge what may be deemed necessary under that Initiative.

The Minister said that she was satisfied that the alternative prescribing arrangements, which lay greater emphasis on availability to the prescribing vet of objective data about the herd in question, is justified and that the new arrangements provide at least the same level of guarantee in relation to public and animal health as is available under the normal prescribing rules. The new arrangements would be kept under review and adjusted as appropriate.

Minister Coughlan stressed that the Regulations, which include other adjustments to make them more practical and workable in light of experience, had been finalised following a consultation process with the relevant stakeholders and other interests and she thanked all concerned for their constructive input into the drafting of the Regulations.

11 December, 2007

Date Released: 11 December 2007