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DAFM has confirmed the ICOS request to delay the implementation of 2019/6 from 28th January 2022 until 1st June 2022.

This delay is only in respect to the prescribing and dispensing of anti-parasitic products.

Regarding the prescribing of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, and medicated feed, the new rules will come into effect on 28th January 2022, as per the EU regulation, and prescriptions for these products will only be valid for a period of 5 days.

The requirement to only supply anti-parasitic medicines on foot of a veterinary prescription is deferred until 1st June 2022. A prescription will not be required by farmers for such products until this date, and for co-op stores, it is business as usual in this respect.

The mandatory requirement to use the new web based National Veterinary Prescribing System (NVPS) is deferred until 1st June 2022. Veterinary practitioners can continue to issue paper-based prescriptions in the current format until then, but the NVPS will be available for voluntary use by vets from the end of January onwards – to ensure that prescribers and dispensers are familiar with the system when its use becomes compulsory.

Prescriptions issued by vets for anti-parasitic medicines after 1st June will be valid for a maximum period of 12-months. Antiparasitic medicines can then be purchased by the farmer from his preferred supplier at the appropriate time throughout the period that the prescription is valid.

All stakeholders in the supply chain of anti-parasitic medicines will need these extra months, in order to fully test and integrate all software systems to ensure farmers can speedily access their prescribed anti-parasitic treatments after June. Co-op stores will also have a significant investment in changing the store infrastructure before 1st June in order to comply with the EU Regulation whereby anti-parasitic and antimicrobial products cannot be on public display. We are seeking clarification on what is required and any differences between anti-microbial and anti-parasitic product ranges.

The Minister also confirmed that his department will be working with the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) in order to allow the interchangeable use of prescribed anti-parasitic to ensure the widest possible access to, and the most competitive alternative treatments for farmed animals.

As previously discussed with the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI), their ethical code of professional conduct which will be finalised soon will allow for more than one prescribing vet per farm. However, there must be a prior Client Patient Practice Relationship (CPPR) in place.

ICOS continues to engage with DAFM to ensure the co-op can dispense the widest possible range of anti-parasitic, vaccine and anti-microbial products.

Eamonn Farrell – Agri Food Policy Executive