Dáil Éireann - Volume 458 - 16 November, 1995

Written Answers. - Animal Remedies Regulations.

26. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the [793] reaction, if any, received from the Irish Pharmaceutical Union to the Animal Remedies Draft Regulations, 1995; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14665/95]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): The draft Animal Remedies Regulations, 1995 were circulated to a wide variety of interested bodies which included the Irish Pharmaceutical Union. Most of the bodies consulted made submissions and later met with officials of my Department to discuss their concerns.

The Irish Pharmaceutical Union made a detailed submission which was the subject of extensive consultation between them and officals of my Department, which included a meeting with the Minister of State.

The Irish Pharmaceutical Union's concerns principally relate to the designation of certain veterinary medicines as prescription only medicines. It is concerned that because there is not a tradition of prescription writing in the veterinary sector they will not receive prescriptions and the livelihood of those pharmacists who largely depend on the sale of veterinary medicines will be jeopardised.

I wish to make it clear that veterinary medicines are not placed in a prescription category to regulate market share. Control of access to certain medicines is necessary in order to ensure that these medicines are used responsibly and following proper diagnosis. These measures are necessary in order to protect public health and ensure our continued access to essential export markets.

There are also criteria for the designation of certain veterinary medicines as prescription only supply set out in EC directives to which I am obliged to give effect. The Irish Pharmaceutical Union laid particular emphasis on the prescription controls on antibiotics, which have been in force since 1986, and any substantial relaxation of these provisions cannot be considered at this stage.

I hope to adopt these regulations in [794] the near future. I consider the measures to be included will address many of the concerns expressed by the Irish Pharmaceutical Union. As a country we are committed to a policy of quality and wholesome food; we must operate controls on the use of veterinary medicines which give consumers the assurances they require.