In February 2019, the HPRA’s Advisory Committee for Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) set up an expert group to establish if antiparasitic veterinary medicines used in food-producing animals could be exempted from needing a prescription, according to Regulation (EU) 2019/6. This action was prompted by authenticated reports of anthelmintic resistance in livestock in Ireland and other countries as well as concerns over the spread of resistance to ectoparasitic drugs worldwide. The timing of the HPRA review was to ensure that veterinary medicines marketed in Ireland complied with the requirements of the EU legislation before it applied across all EU countries in January 2022.
Report adoption and stakeholder consultations
During 2019, the group held an online consultation with interested parties before finalising the report in October 2019. Subsequently, the ACVM reviewed and adopted the Report, which was then discussed and endorsed by the HPRA’s Authority on 5 December 2019. The report revealed that antiparasitic veterinary medicines used in food-producing species did not meet the criteria for derogation from the requirement for a veterinary prescription as per Regulation (EU) 2019/6. As a result, any products previously supplied without prescription had to be upregulated to supply under veterinary prescription.
Changeover to prescription control
From December 2019 to February 2020, the HPRA held a public consultation on how to implemented changes to the supply of affected medicines. The HPRA also held a virtual meeting with interested parties in April 2020. In 2021, the HPRA collaborated with the companies marketing the medicines to change the labelling of antiparasitic products concerned to prescription control. These changes ensure compliance of the affected medicines with Regulation 2019/6.
However, the requirement for a vet to write a prescription for antiparasitic medicines was deferred by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) on a number of occasions since then, including most recently on 24 November 2022
In June 2020, DAFM established an Antiparasitic Resistance Stakeholder Group. The group’s purpose is to take a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder approach to addressing antiparasitic resistance and promoting responsible use of antiparasitics medicines used in food-producing animals.