The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will host a webinar next week for vets, on the issue of changes to veterinary medicine regulations that will come into effect from next January.
The webinar will take place next Wednesday, March 31. It is due to begin at 7:00pm and is slated to go on for two hours.
The department is urging vets to tune into the webinar to find out what the regulations mean for them.
More information on the webinar can be accessed through the department’s Twitter page.
One of the main changes that is due to take place next January under the regulation (EU Regulation 2019/6) – and the one that has generated the most controversy among farm organisations – is changes to how antiparasitic medicines are supplied.
Up to now, Ireland has been availing of a derogation that allows antiparasitic medicines to be sold by licenced merchants without a prescription by a vet.
From next January, that derogation will no longer be available, meaning that all such products will require a vet’s prescription.
Farm organisations, as well as some politicians, have voiced concerns that this would reduce commercial competition in the sector and result in higher prices for these treatments.
Concerns have also been expressed that licenced merchants would not be able to compete with veterinary businesses if the latter was both prescribing and providing the products.
The change in regulations will also affect antibiotics.
These changes were explained by the president of Veterinary Ireland, Conor Geraghty, at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine yesterday evening (Tuesday, March 23).
The main change, he explained, was that antibiotics will no longer be able to be used as a preventative treatment. They will only be used on sick animals.
The second aspect to the restriction on antibiotics is on a sub-category known as “critically-important” antibiotics.
Where these are concerned, restrictions will, according to Geraghty, entail a requirement that vets have evidence that the use of the antibiotic is the only prudent treatment in a given case. This, he said, would require a culture test to detect bacteria.