The European Commission (EC) has adopted proposals on veterinary medicinal products and medicated feed to improve the health and wellbeing of animals, to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the EU and to foster innovation.
The move has already been welcomed by the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH), whose chief executive, Phil Sketchley, said his staff would be studying the details of the EC plan over the next few weeks and reviewing their potential impact.
In addition, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) has called stakeholder workshops to examine the EC texts while the European animal health federation (IFAH-Europe) is committed to “working determinedly with the European institutions over the coming years to support the Commission’s vision for a more efficient regulatory system for veterinary medicines in Europe”.
The EC proposals on veterinary medicinal products are aimed at making “more medicines available in the EU to treat and prevent diseases in animals”.
The proposed modernisation of medicated feed legislation, meanwhile, is designed to “ensure the appropriate standard of product quality and safety in the EU, whilst simultaneously paving the way for better treatments for diseased animals”.
European Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, commented: “These proposals both have animal health and welfare at their heart. However, they also represent a major step forward for public health as they introduce measures that contribute towards combatting the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), keeping antibiotics effective for people and animals alike.”
NOAH’s Phil Sketchley, commenting specifically on the planned revision of medicated feed legislation, added: “This is an important route for administering prescription medicines to animals. We will work to help ensure the legislation is capable of maintaining and strengthening this route.”
Currently, he continued, the manufacturers of veterinary medicines “struggle with a regulatory system with some serious flaws”. These include working within a highly segmented internal market and regulatory framework which is characterised by high product development and licence maintenance costs, all of which limits product availability, particularly in smaller markets and for minor species. He also said there was “insufficient protection of intellectual property” which stifled investment in innovation.
The new package will follow the EU’s normal legislative procedures, which means the final text will need to be negotiated and agreed on by the European Parliament and the European Council before bcoming law.