The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has confirmed that new regulations regarding the requirement of prescriptions for antimicrobials, including antibiotics and medicated feeds will come into effect on January 28, 2022.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue confirmed earlier this week that there would be a four-month deferral to aspects of the European-wide veterinary medicines regulations, namely:

  • The mandatory requirement to use a new national veterinary prescribing system (NVPS) will be deferred until June 1;
  • The mandatory requirement to issue a prescription for anti-parasitics will also be deferred until June 1.

But in relation to new prescribing rules for antibiotics, antimicrobials, and medicated feed, the January 28 deadline still applies.

For the first time, a clear timeline for the introduction and implementation of new veterinary medicine regulations has been provided by the DAFM, as follows:

  1. The new regulations come into effect on the January 28, 2022;
  2. The new requirements regarding the prescribing of antimicrobials, 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 a four-month period – until June 1, 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 1, 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 – to 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 1 will be valid for a maximum period of 12-months. Antiparasitic medicines can then be purchased by the farmer from his preferred supplier at the appropriate time throughout the period that the prescription is valid;
  7. From June 1 2022, the regulations will be applied in full.

As reported previously by Agriland, a large-scale targeted advisory service on animal health (TASAH) programme, specifically focussed on parasite control, will be available to farmers in 2022.

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.

Minister McConalogue said he recognised that new veterinary medicines regulations and prescribing rules mark a significant step-change for farmers, vets, pharmacists and licensed merchants.