Medicine concerns

Ulster Unionist Agriculture & Rural Affairs spokesperson Rosemary Barton has said the uncertainty around the future availability of veterinary medicines in Northern Ireland is concerning.

Mrs Barton said: “We are informed that in the absence of a free trade agreement, goods moving between GB and NI must abide by the importation requirements set out in Article 5 of the NI Protocol.

“This would affect goods coming into NI from the EU via GB and GB-manufactured goods; additional checks or tariffs on veterinary medicinal products could cause significant delays to the supply chain into NI. Without a Mutual Recognition Agreement, medicines moving from GB to NI would need batch testing in the EU/NI.

“Currently a veterinary medicinal product needs a market authorisation before it can be placed on the market. It can be authorised centrally for the whole of European Union (EU) by an application to the European Medicines Agency via the European Commission or on a national level by an application to the relevant national Competent Authority.

“For the UK, the Competent Authority is the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) (an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)).

“Under the Protocol, EU legislation on veterinary medicinal products will continue to apply to Northern Ireland following the end of the transition period. In practical terms this means that medicines placed on the market in NI must comply with the EU law for veterinary medicinal products, including approval of new veterinary medicinal products via EU regulatory procedures. However, Great Britain (GB) will not be bound to follow EU rules. It is, therefore, possible that there could be future divergence between NI and GB in the regulation of veterinary medicines.”