A meeting between the Department of Agriculture and the anti-parasitic stakeholder group (APR) ended in chaos last week with widespread condemnation of the lack of progress in finding a solution to the problems set to be created by the looming changes to veterinary medicines dispensing rules.

The current proposals would see all licensed medicines and dosing products requiring a prescription before they can be sold to a farmer from January 2022 onwards.

Secretary general of the Independent Licensed Merchants Association (ILMA) Ian Scott said the APR stakeholder meetings “are a complete charade” and “a clever yet cynical box-ticking exercise on behalf of the Department."

“It’s clear that the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, has lost control of the issue and it’s now time for him to stand up and take the concerns of the vast majority of the group of stakeholders,” he said.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that the Minister for Agriculture will meet stakeholders in the coming days. The deadline for changes to the labelling on veterinary medicine packaging to be submitted for approval, to fall in line with the changes to the rules, is the end of April.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture said: “Department officials have extensively engaged with all stakeholders and, in particular, with representatives of licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacists since 2019 in respect of Regulation 2019/6.

“The Department’s focus is on two key issues (i) proactively addressing antiparasitic resistance to the benefit of Ireland’s globally renowned pasture-based production model and (ii) implementing measures to sustain a competitive market for the supply of veterinary medicines.”