Agricultural merchants are resorting to legal action in an effort to stall plans to make common dosing products on farms prescription-only.

It is planning to take a legal injunction out to prevent the proposed implementation of the new rules.

The ongoing farm medicines row is between the Department of Agriculture and vets, co-ops, veterinary pharmacies and licenced merchants.

Under proposed changes to take effect in January 2022, licenced merchants, co-ops and veterinary pharmacies will no longer be able to supply animal dosing without a valid prescription from a veterinary surgeon.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that licenced medicines manufacturing companies have until the end of April to submit changes to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) on labelling on packaging that will come into effect in January 2022 and essentially make many of the common dosing products in everyday use prescription-only products.

The Independent Licenced Merchant Association (ILMA), the Acorn group, veterinary pharmacies and co-ops have stated that these changes will result in the loss of jobs in rural Ireland and also result in the closure of many of their smaller-scale premises.


ILMA general secretary Ian Scott said: “The Department said they would consult with all stakeholders during this process and they have not kept that promise. What they are doing is actually dictating to us what way things are going to go whether we like it or not.

"Going down the road of the vet being the sole prescriber of all veterinary medicines will decimate our members' livelihoods.

"Any consultations that we have had with the Department of Agriculture has been a box-ticking exercise for them, with no real engagement.

"This implementation stage shouldn’t be taking place without agreement from all stakeholders involved.”

New rules

The Department of Agriculture held a webinar on Wednesday night this week to brief interested parties on how the new rules will be rolled out to the industry.

ILMA members say that vets will now have total control of selling animal dosing and licenced products and this will effectively drive ILMA members out of business.

Scott added: “To be honest, we feel let down by the Minister for Agriculture. He told us he would engage with us at all stages and that hasn’t happened.

"The ILMA, the Acorn group and the Irish Pharmacy Union have now been left with no other choice but to look to take a legal injunction to the proposed implementation of the new rules.”