The Animal Health Distributors Association (AHDA) has outlined its support for the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, describing it as a ‘positive move’ for the supply of veterinary medicines.
In the Bill, veterinary medicines are covered under ‘manufactured goods, medicines and agri-foods’ in the regulation of goods clauses 7-11. For the veterinary medicines industry, the Bill will provide the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) with the powers to disapply elements of EU law under the Protocol, such as those relating to the EU rules on veterinary medicines.
The Bill also provides the power for Ministers to make new laws in connection with the Protocol, which could be used to create a UK-wide veterinary regime. This would remove regulatory barriers and supply challenges that will arise should the grace period end at the end of this year.
“The Northern Ireland Protocol, as it stands, undermines the right of SQPs to prescribe veterinary medicines in the UK, and the way that Northern Ireland operates,” said Bryan Lovegrove, AHDA secretary general.
“Northern Ireland is a part of the UK, meaning that Northern Ireland veterinary medicines fall under the responsibility of the VMD as a part of UK Government. Northern Ireland must therefore not be treated any differently in respect of the governance of veterinary medicine products.”
Mr Lovegrove said that AHDA fully endorses this Bill going through Parliament.
“The Bill is a very positive move for the veterinary medicines industry, and AHDA hopes the proposed changes will be made permanent,” he said.
The introduction of the protocol, which was negotiated between the UK and EU as part of the Withdrawal Agreement, caused many practical issues, including trade disruption and diversion, and significant costs and bureaucracy for those supplying and trading animal medicines.