The “highly dysfunctional prescribing regime” under the new veterinary medicine regulations will lead to a “substantial loss of jobs in co-ops and independent licensed merchants in rural areas the length and breadth of the country”, the Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has warned.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, ICOS livestock and environmental services executive Ray Doyle said: “Since the new legislation and the new prescribing regime for antibiotics came into effect on 28 January 2022, we have seen the sales of intramammary antibiotics totally collapse across all co-ops.”

He told TDs and senators that the new regulations are creating a “dramatic shift in the veterinary medicines supply chain”, which will “undermine the sustainability of the co-op store network”.

Doyle said a “key pillar of their offering will be weakened and footfall will be diminished”.

Appropriate solution

Based on the impact of the regulation changes so far, Doyle called for an “appropriate legal solution” before the Department proceeds with its decision to “up-regulate antiparasitic veterinary medicines to prescription only”.

He called on the Department to “pursue all avenues” that will enable ‘responsible persons’ employed by co-ops and merchants to continue to “do what they have effectively being doing for many years” as prescribers of antiparasitic veterinary medicines.

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