Opinion Former Article

NOAH: May 2009 Manifesto: Animal health and medicines in Europe

1. The 1-1-1 concept

NOAH, as part of the European animal health federation, IFAH-Europe, supports a single market for veterinary medicines in Europe by removing licensing barriers - the 1-1-1 concept. The idea is to introduce a licensing process based on 1 dossier / 1 assessment / 1 decision for marketing authorisation, valid throughout Europe. It is the continuation of the principle of mutual recognition which formed the initial idea of the current system for the authorisation of animal medicines.

However, the new concept will overcome some of the obstacles of the current systems and will lead to a more efficient registration system with many advantages for all stakeholders. It will complete the evolution to a single European market - increasing competitiveness and efficiency in line with the Lisbon agenda - and help improve animal welfare by making the market more favourable to the development of new animal medicines.

2. Consumer attitudes to farm animal medicines and vaccination

A 2008 survey carried out by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) on behalf of NOAH found that, overall, UK consumers have confidence in those working in the food chain to use animal medicines appropriately and produce safe food. Consumer awareness of animal medicines has significantly increased in recent years, however the level of consumer concern about animal medicines has not increased correspondingly.

With specific regard to vaccination, there is some misunderstanding: although 40% of consumers believe vaccination should be used to help prevent disease, one third are worried that vaccines can be transferred into the food we eat. Consumers need to be informed and assured that vaccines do not leave residues in food, particularly in light of the emergence of new animal diseases in Europe, such as bluetongue, where vaccines can play a key role.

3. Companion animal health

Companion animals are rarely included on the European Union agenda, yet they play an important and positive role in society. Pets bring benefits to individuals, families and society as a whole and, to do this, the animals need to be healthy.

NOAH highlights the need for responsible use of medicines as part of good practice in looking after pets' health and welfare and encourages owners to talk to vets about all aspects of pet care. NOAH has developed a website to help encourage and facilitate this: www.pethealthinfo.org.uk. Look out in the future for the Pet Night in the European Parliament. Co-ordinated by IFAH-Europe, this event is an important chance to show that 'we care' for companion animals.

4. Healthy animals = healthy food

Good access to medicines for farm animals is key to managing animals' health and welfare, as well as the quality of the food we consume. NOAH upholds the principle that medicines should be used to treat disease 'as little as possible, but as much as necessary'. It supports moves towards minimising the need for treatment, and using them only as part of a wider-ranging proactive approach to farm health planning, which will include measures, such as vaccination, to help prevent disease.

Responsible use of medicines on farms is vital to ensure the options available to manage farm animal health are maintained. NOAH highlights the importance of a wide range of medicines being available, from which vets and advisers can select the best option for each situation. It supports initiatives such as the RUMA (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture) Alliance in the UK and its European counterpart EPRUMA, which work, through the development of guidelines such as those on antibiotics, to support and ensure responsible use.

For further information please contact:

Phil Sketchley, Chief Executive, NOAH P.Sketchley@noah.co.uk

Alison Glennon, Communications Manager, NOAH A.Glennon@noah.co.uk

Tel: 020 8367 3131
Web: www.noah.co.uk

More Articles by National Office for Animal Health (NOAH) ...

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