Dáil Éireann - Volume 599 - 10 March, 2005

Written Answers. - EU Directives.

  136. Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if she will review the planned regulation for transposing EC Directive 2004/28 into Irish law in view of the opposition from all major farming groups and the veterinary profession; the consultation which will take place on this matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8500/05]

[1088]   Mary Coughlan: The package of changes, the principles of which were announced by my predecessor a year ago, are not designed to implement EU Directive 2004/28 in Ireland. Rather, they are designed to address a number of issues and problems identified with the existing national regime, in particular, by making the prescribing regime more workable and effective and by extending the range of outlets which may supply on foot of a prescription. There has been wide consultation with stakeholders, including farmers and the veterinary profession, during the formulation of this package and the next stage in this process is to formally consult with the animal remedies consultative committee as provided for in the relevant legislation.

Implementation of Directive 2004/28 will involve a number of changes in national legislation and procedures, many of which are designed to improve the availability of veterinary treatments. Preliminary work on this transposition exercise has begun in my Department. This exercise also involves liaison with the Irish Medicines Board and, in due course, consultation with other stakeholders.

In the meantime, a number of aspects relating to implementation of the directive remain to be fully resolved at EU level, including whether certain categories of medicines will be exempted from the mandatory prescription requirement. The deadline for completion of this latter exercise is 1 January 2007 and, in the interim, existing national distribution routes, which include provision for availability of products “off-prescription”, will remain in place.