The Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) “will work with stakeholders” on regulating veterinary medicines under new EU laws which are set to come in next year – which will restrict the use of medicines and antiparasitic (dosing) products from 2022.
The council will include definitions of terms contained in the new laws – named the EU Veterinary Medicine Regulations 2019/6 – in the VCI Code of Professional Conduct.
The VCI said it is engaging with stakeholders in considering the definition of various terms contained in the EU Veterinary Medicine Regulations 2019/6.
The new regulation is being brought in to combat the ongoing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a top 10 global public health threat.
The main drivers of AMR are the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials. Antimicrobial resistant organisms are commonly introduced to humans via the food supply chain, resulting from the overuse of antimicrobials/antibiotics with animals.
AMR demands the reservation of antimicrobials/antibiotics for use in limited circumstances, the council stresses.
Veterinary practitioners can only prescribe and dispense prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics, to animals that are under their care, the council underlined, adding:
An animal is considered to be under the care of a vet when specific requirements are satisfied, to ensure that the prescribing vet has sufficient knowledge of the animal and their environment to ensure safe and informed prescribing, in the interests of animal welfare and public health.
Further to the new EU regulations, additional veterinary medicines will require a prescription from a veterinary practitioner, the VCI noted.
The council said that, following a report on the matter, “it is recommended that antiparasitic medicinal products will now require a veterinary prescription from 2022 to protect the efficacy of the antiparasitic medicinal products”.
The council said it is “working with all relevant stakeholders on this issue, and takes its responsibility in the area of the regulation of veterinary medicines very seriously”.
Code of Professional Conduct
Highlighting that all veterinary practitioners in Ireland are bound by the Veterinary Council’s Code of Professional Conduct, the VCI noted that this code is currently being updated, with the last substantial review taking place in 2010.
Niamh Muldoon, CEO and registrar of the VCI, said:
“The EU Veterinary Medicine Regulations 2019/6, which comes into force in January 2022, will present a positive step forward in the fight against AMR, which is one of the biggest threats facing humans and animals.
“The Veterinary Council understands the responsibility of the role it will play in this area, as the regulator of veterinary practitioners in Ireland.
The council has clear and strict rules in place when it comes to the prescription of veterinary medicines, and will continue to ensure that veterinary practitioners are operating at the highest ethical standards through education and enforcement in this area.
“The council will work with all relevant stakeholders in the lead up to these regulations coming into force,” Muldoon concluded.