Farmers will be the biggest losers in the proposed changes to the sale and supply of anti-parasitic products, if the issue is not addressed by the Department of Agriculture, IFA animal health chair Pat Farrell has said.
The IFA has warned that if the Republic does not align with the provision to allow suitably qualified persons prescribe such products in licensed merchant stores, similar to Northern Ireland, a two-tier supply system will come into effect on the island.
Farrell said there is a real risk of creating an incentive for an illegal trade in these products across the border as a result of the divergence in approaches between both jurisdictions.
“This would seriously undermine national efforts at developing a national co-ordinated strategy on parasite control on farms,” he said.
“This will challenge the economic viability of licensed merchant stores, reduce competition in the supply of these products for farmers and inevitably result in farmers having to pay more for the product with possible prescription charges from vets."
The IFA claims that the Department of Agriculture refused to address the issues at the drafting stage of the regulation.
“The situation can still be resolved, if there is a willingness to so, by providing for suitably qualified persons to prescribe these products in licensed merchant stores and veterinary pharmacies similar to what applies in Northern Ireland under this same regulation.”