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NFU Concerns Carry Weight with VMD

by 5m Editor
11 January 2011, at 12:07pm

UK - The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has announced the results of its Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2010 consultation, which the NFU responded to back in September 2010.

There were 20 proposals up for consideration and some carried stronger implications for livestock farmers than others.

The NFU is pleased to report that all our recommendations and concerns appear to have been taken into account by the VMD and the resultant changes, which come into force in April 2011, should provide a sensible regulatory framework.

In light of increasing concerns about the growth of antimicrobial resistance, the VMD’s consultation canvassed views on restricting the direct advertising of antimicrobials to farmers.

The NFU argued that such a move would threaten animal welfare, reduce the ability of livestock owners to improve their understanding of diseases and would directly inhibit an owner’s ability to discuss animal health issues with his vet from an informed and equitable position.

The NFU also disputed whether the proposal would have any impact on reducing the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The VMD has accepted that this was a controversial proposal and have confirmed that government ministers have decided not to proceed at this time.

A further proposal which has been approved by government is the introduction of new controls on internet pharmacies, meaning that only approved websites displaying a special logo will be legally allowed to dispense and supply veterinary medicines.

NFU members value the flexibility and market competition that online retailers provide, but there have been incidents where NFU members have unknowingly bought from sites that have been operating illegally. Consequently the NFU requested several years ago that the VMD should investigate this area of retailing to make it easier for the consumer to buy safely from legitimate sites. We reasserted that view in our consultation response.

The government has decided to proceed with the proposal, which will see a compulsory registration scheme of internet retailers introduced in the 2011 Regulations.