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Minister Smith Launches APHA Veterinary Medicines Compendium

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD today launched the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Association) Compendium of veterinary medicines which are authorised for the Irish market.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Smith commended APHA for its continued commitment to the Compendium, which, he said, has established its position as an important reference for those involved in the distribution and use of veterinary medicines.

The Minister added: "Medicines, including vaccines, obviously play a vital role in maintaining a healthy animal population.  However, as with humans, it is of critical importance that medicines are used on animals only as stipulated in the product licence and in this regard the Compendium plays a vital part as a source of structured information and data".

The Minister went on to stress the need for both farmers and owners of pet animal to source medicines from authorised suppliers.  "In an internet age, there is a temptation to circumvent normal channels for sourcing medicines, which poses dangers for animal and consumer health and welfare, not least due to the risks associated with counterfeit products" the Minister stated, adding "Scientific bodies such as the Irish Medicines Board or the European Medicines Agency rightly subject products to rigorous examination before authorising them for the Irish market to make sure they prevent or cure diseases as claimed, and that they do not compromise consumers' health.  Using unauthorised products obviously undermines such assurances and can also pose risks to our vital food export markets".

The Minister also drew particular attention to the important role antibiotic treatments have played in maintaining our positive national herd health status while at the same time warning against the over-use of these products.  "We have" the Minister stated "become accustomed, over many generations, to the powerful therapeutic effect of antibiotic treatments, both in human and veterinary medicine".  However, with the development of antibiotic resistance, it is important that antibiotics are used carefully and only where necessary. "Through the use of vaccination programmes and other infection-prevention strategies, we should strive to reduce reliance on antibiotic medicines, so as to ensure that we will continue to have these treatments usefully available into the future" the Minister concluded.

Date Released: 29 April 2010