The IFA has pressed Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to allow for a practical solution to the issue of categorising wormers as prescription-only medicines.

EU legislation will tighten the supply of anthelmintics from January of next year.

Farmers will be unable to blanket-treat livestock with wormers unless they obtain a veterinary prescription first.

The IFA has stated that the approach has been rejected by farmers and merchants.

"Within the EU legal text of the veterinary medicine regulation, there is ample room to provide a workable solution for all parties,” said IFA animal health chair Pat Farrell in response to farmer concerns on the matter.


Farrell also posited that the new rules have effectively funnelled the supply of anthelmintics to a single service provider - a service provider which has a vested interest in supplying the products to farmers.

“To overcome this issue, we must ensure farmers can source these products in a competitive market.

"Licensed merchants and veterinary pharmacies must continue to play a crucial role in providing advice, guidance and the sale of anti-parasitic products.

Farmers fully support the better and more targeted use of anti-parasitic products

“Farmers fully support the better and more targeted use of anti-parasitic products.

"However, this will not be achieved if control is in the hands of a prescriber who has a significant economic interest in the supply of these products,” Farrell continued.

The IFA has called on the Department to recognise the voices of farmer and merchants, who it says have come out firmly against the changes.

"We have seen the distorting effect categorising veterinary medicine products as prescription-only medicines has on the supply chain, with the prescriber put in a dominant supply position.

"This is more impactful on farmers with limited or no competition in their area for large animal veterinary services,” the animal health chair said.

Simplistic strategy

The IFA has suggested shifting the focus of sustainable parasite control legislation from the supply of wormers and towards modern veterinary diagnostic tools, saying that it believes the current legislation proposed to come into effect in January is too simplistic.

"There are several options open to the Minister to resolve this problem. If we are serious about implementing a co-ordinated national anti-parasitic programme, all stakeholders must have the opportunity to participate actively,” he concluded.