The Department of Agriculture has granted a six-month extension on the proposed animal medicine changes that were due to come into effect on 1 June 2022.
In a letter seen by the Irish Farmers Journal issued by Martin Blake, the chief veterinary officer, to all members of the anti-parasitic resistance stakeholder group, he cited IT issues as one of the reasons the extension has been granted.
“The Department has listened to stakeholders’ concerns and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to ensure delivery of a better end product that serves the needs of farmers, industry and all other stakeholders, has decided to further extend the transition period for the requirement for a veterinary prescription for anti-parasitic medicines and the introduction of mandatory electronic prescriptions – this will ensure maximum preparedness by all stakeholders.
“The transition period will end on 1 December 2022,” he said.
Commenting on the extension Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said
“My officials and IT developers are already working with users and providers, and I am thankful for their constructive feedback. My team and the IT developers will use this additional time to fine tune and further enhance the NVPS, resulting in a dynamic application which users can interact with either as a standalone system or through integration with other software products”.
Under the proposed changes, farmers would have needed a prescription to purchase antiparasitic medicine, such as wormers and animal dosing, with vets needing to submit prescriptions online using the National Veterinary Prescribing System (NVPS).
The proposed changes will now not come into effect until 1 December.
Blake said this extension will allow a “seamless transition” to the new regulatory regime governing veterinary medicinal products as well as full implementation of the new prescription system.
“The Department will also use this extended transition period to deepen engagement with all stakeholders including veterinary practitioners, licensed merchants, pharmacists and their software providers, ensuring maximum opportunity for users to become familiar with the system and provide feedback before its use becomes mandatory.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal Ollie Ryan, owner of Midland Vet, a licenced merchant in Tullamore,Co. Offaly said "Its a massive relief for merchants. We welcome the extension and look forward to engaging with the Department of Agriculture on how we can meet the changes to the regulations in the coming months.
There had been numerous calls in the last few weeks from farm organisations and merchants for an extension to the deadline of 1 June.