The transition period for requiring a veterinary prescription for antiparasitic drugs has been extended until December this year, Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.
Under these rules, antiparasitic drugs will require a prescription from a veterinarian before they can be purchased.
The Minister said he recognized stakeholders’ concerns over “recent unexpected developments” at global and national levels.
“I have listened to our stakeholders and understand that while they are working closely with us to ensure the best possible systems are introduced, unexpected challenges have arisen.”
The reasons for the extension are a combination of supply chain issues for these drugs and the software system of the National Veterinary Prescribing System (NVPS), which needs more time to develop, the minister noted.
We are aware that companies are experiencing supply chain issues attributable to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, and we recognize that to ensure the best possible national veterinary prescription system, software developers need more time to ensure a smooth transition,” he said.
The transition period will now end on December 1, which, according to the minister, “would provide enough time to meet these unexpected challenges”.
The Minister confirmed that the Veterinary Drugs, Medicated Feeds and Fertilizers Regulation Bill 2022 will soon be presented to the Cabinet.
He commented, “Stakeholders have shown real commitment to ensuring that we implement these changes that will help farmers combat pest and antimicrobial resistance, resulting in positive outcomes. long-term impact on human and animal health, and will improve the efficiency and productivity of the agri-food sector.
Regarding the NVPS software, Minister McConalogue said the extension would allow time for “further refinement”.
“My IT managers and developers are already working with users and vendors, and I’m grateful for their constructive feedback. My team and the IT developers will use this extra time to further refine and improve NVPS,” he said.
The minister added: “This will result in a dynamic application that users can interact with either as a standalone system or through integration with other software products.”