European Commission Strikes A Blow Against Animal Health

UK - The European Commission's unrelenting opposition to the way veterinary medicines are sold in Britain spells higher costs for producers, says NPA.
calendar icon 3 July 2003
clock icon 3 minute read
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NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & White-hall, and with pro-cessors, supermarkets & caterers – fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

As reported on this page several times in the past, Brussels wants to consolidate European Union medicines legislation.

As originally proposed article 67 of their draft directive would have outlawed the Pharmacy and Merchants List, which allows producers to buy some medicines from properly qualified general merchants such as Phillips Animal Health and Hanco Farm Supplies. A similar system exists in Eire and the Netherlands.

UK organisation the Animal Health Alliance succeeded in getting an amendment at the first reading in the European Parliament, which would have allowed member states to authorise a Pharmacy and Merchants List arrangement, given appropriate training of the distributor.

But in the last few days the Commission's unrelenting opposition to this amendment has prevailed to the extent that counter proposals are now gaining favour, reports the NFU.

The Commission is now proposing that all medicines for food producing animals should indeed be prescription-only.

They have agreed there could be a list of exemptions applicable across the EU. "But we believe that there would little hope of that list being anywhere near broad enough to replace the UK's current Pharmacy and Merchants List," warn NFU.

The case is not absolutely lost, but the Greek Presidency's determination to get the principles established before it steps down argues very much against the chance of any redemption.

Whatever happens in the next few days, any new system will not be agreed in its entirety until the summer of 2004.

The NFU and the Animal Health Alliance will continue to lobby to keep the Pharmacy and Merchants List or to minimise the effects of its abolition.

Source: National Pig Association - By Digby Scott - 3rd July 2003

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