The animal medicines row between the Department of Agriculture and licensed merchants continues.
The Department of Agriculture has called a meeting with merchants, co-ops, vets and farm organisations to discuss where the Department stands on proposed changes to the legislation requested at a previous meeting last month.
The group will hear a report from the Attorney General as to the legality of the proposed changes which are to come into effect in January 2022.
In correspondence seen by the Irish Farmers Journal that was issued to members of the anti-parasitic resistance stakeholder group, the Department of Agriculture has appeared to pour cold water on the idea of separating prescribing and dispensing of animal medicines.
It said: “For such decoupling to be permissible, a sound evidential basis in veterinary medicine is required to justify any partial or full prohibition on veterinarians selling the veterinary medicines that they prescribe. Such decoupling could not be solely for the purpose of economically assisting one sector of an industry over another.”
This is good news for vets but is likely to further anger licensed merchants who have been extremely vocal in their resistance to the proposed changes in recent months.
IFA animal health chair Pat Farrell told the Irish Farmers Journal: “The Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, must resist the concerted effort by the veterinary lobby to restrict access to all licensed veterinary medicines to vets only, which could result in a dangerous conflict of interest.
“Ireland already has a robust system where pharmacies and licensed merchants play a crucial role in servicing some of the animal health needs of farmers. They provide advice and guidance on certain issues and can sell some products under strict controls. The system is working, and there is no need to change it.”