Vets warn politicians of looming ‘crisis’ over medicine supply

Vets warn politicians of looming ‘crisis’ over medicine supply

Politicians have been been warned Northern Ireland faces a ‘public health emergency’ unless permanent access to vet medicines is secured

Implications of the current grace period ending from 31 December 2025 without a permanent solution in place would leave NI in a “very real’ crisis”.

The warning was made by the current BVA NI president and two past presidents, who gave oral evidence to a House of Lords Windsor Framework sub-committee on post-Brexit vet medicines access.

Under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland continues to be bound by EU rules on veterinary medicines, but not the rest of the UK.

The issue centres on the requirement of medicine manufacturers to get their products batch-tested in the EU before they can be put on sale in NI.

If no solution is in place after that date, farmers there could lose access to an estimated 51% of veterinary medicines, BVA Northern Ireland recently warned parliament.

These would include vaccines for zoonotic diseases such as salmonella and leptospirosis, as well as insulin for dogs and cats and flu and tetanus vaccines for horses.

The BVA delegation said this would lead to dire consequences for consumers, farmers and their livestock but also for pets such as cats, dogs and horses.

BVA NI President, Esther Skelly-Smith told a sub-committee conducting a new inquiry into the Windsor Framework and continued access to veterinary medicines in NI: “If the current grace period expires without an agreement, the potential consequences are vast and severe.

“NI would be left facing a very real public health emergency and serious implications for the farming industry as well as potentially devastating outcomes for the equine sector and companion animals unable to get the treatment they need.

“It’s crucial a permanent solution is found to ensure the protection of Northern Ireland’s animal and public health and the agricultural economy is able to continue.”