Animal health industry associations warn solutions are needed to address Northern Ireland Protocol veterinary medicines supply concerns
NOAH (UK National Office for Animal Health) along with AnimalhealthEurope, is concerned that the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) introduced following the UK’s exit from the EU could, in its current format, cause substantial disruption to veterinary medicines supply. In exchanges with the authorities, the associations have put forward solutions to avoid these supply issues, and the consequent negative impact on animal health and welfare they would cause.
Without change to the Protocol, the availability of veterinary medicines in Northern Ireland could be affected. Companies would struggle to fulfil regulatory requirements to maintain product authorisations, with a consequent impact on supply chains.
Four main areas of challenge have been identified:
- The ability to warehouse veterinary medicines in Great Britain (GB), without repeat batch release testing when the products are moved to Northern Ireland.
- The ability to batch release products in GB for the Northern Ireland market only.
- The ability to have a GB based Marketing Authorisation Holder (MAH) for national authorisations that include NI in their scope.
- The need for a workable legislative solution, that enables supply of veterinary medicinal products that have UK National Authorisations, to be supplied to NI from the Republic of Ireland (ROI).
A number of potential solutions have been identified to overcome these challenges and ensure the current range of authorised veterinary medicines remains available on the NI market.
NOAH Chief Executive Dawn Howard said: “We recognise this is a very complex problem and appreciate the engagement our sector has had with the Commission to date – and indeed, in the UK, we also welcome the ongoing work of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), on this issue. We hope this letter will show that our industry is united on measures to safeguard the supply of veterinary medicines in Northern Ireland and plan to continue our dialogue with the European Commission and VMD to enable this to happen.”
Roxane Feller, AnimalhealthEurope Secretary General said: “Our main concern is that our sector does not get side-lined within the complexities of this situation. The challenges faced by many sectors extend also to the animal health sector and this should not be overlooked. We remain confident that the EU and respective national governments realise the importance of animal health products and services, and recognise that disease is neither beholden to geographical position nor political decision.”