Veterinary medicine rule changes effective from 1 June will see farmers needing a veterinary prescription to purchase antiparasitic medicines, such as wormers, with farm vets needing to submit prescriptions online using the National Veterinary Prescribing System (NVPS).

The IFA’s animal heath chair TJ Maher has warned that stakeholders are unprepared for the new regime and that solutions to all of the new rules’ difficulties have not yet been found.

Farmer concerns on the rules changes have not been sufficiently addressed through the Targeted Advisory Service on Animal Health (TASAH) or the period provided for transferring vets over to the online prescription system, he claims.

Defer deadline

Maher also said that the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has the power to further defer the deadline on the compulsory introduction of these changes and allow stakeholders more time to adjust to the rule changes.

Time is still needed to address “genuine concerns” around the competitive supply of animal medicines, he said.

“The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue made a decision to defer the implementation to 1 June to provide time to address the concerns of farmers, licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacies. This deadline is now upon us and all stakeholders are left completely unprepared,” stated Maher.

“All stakeholders are prepared to work to find a suitable solution to address the concern of farmers, licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacies.

“It’s within the Minister’s remit to defer this in order to resolve the substantive issue of a competitive supply chain for farmers. This will provide an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with all stakeholders,” he said.