A practical and workable solution for all stakeholders in the prescribing of anthelmintics is needed, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said.
In a statement, its Animal Health Chairman, Pat Farrell, highlighted how farmers, licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacies rejected the idea of putting control in the hands of one service provider, whom, he added, may have vested economic interest in the supply of these products.
"In Northern Ireland and our primary export market, Great Britain, there is no requirement for veterinary involvement in the prescribing of these products,” he continued.
"Within the EU legal text of the veterinary medicine regulation, there is ample room to provide a workable solution for all parties.
“To overcome this issue, we must ensure farmers can source these products in a competitive market.
“Licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacies must continue to play a crucial role in providing advice, guidance and the sale of antiparasitic products".
The Chairman went on to say that the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue has several options to resolve the issue open to him.
“If we are serious about implementing a co-ordinated National Antiparasitic programme, all stakeholders must have the opportunity to participate actively,” Mr Farell added.
“Advances in analytical tools and results from laboratory tests provide for a better, more targeted prescribing and usage approach to antiparasitic products.
“Rather than the current simplistic and anti-competitive position where only the farm vet is deemed acceptable to prescribe.
"Farmers fully support the better and more targeted use of antiparasitic products; however, this will not be achieved if control is in the hands of a prescriber who has a significant economic interest in the supply of these products.”