2 June 1931

Even teat dips to be made POMs

BRUSSELS has moved a step closer to forcing the UK to make all animal health products prescription only medicines (POMs), regardless of the level of risk they represent to humans.

Next week, the European parliaments environment committee will debate a report by member Francoise Grossetete, supporting the idea that everything from teat dips to wormers should only be available on prescription.

"We were optimistic that Mrs Grossetete would seek to amend that bit of the legislation in her report," said Roger Dawson, secretary general of the Animal Health Distributors Association. "But she has now shifted her position and left the commissions proposal unchanged."

She believes the new directive contains a loophole allowing non-vets to prescribe POMs so long as they have member state approval.

But this would not help the UK, says Mr Dawson, where primary legislation says only vets can prescribe POMs.

"The commission proposal would increase veterinary intervention and costs to farmers and could lead to welfare problems if animals are not treated."

AHDA has drawn up its own amendment, which would allow the UK to continue with its system of distributing low risk animal health products through registered dealers such as merchants and saddlers.

The new clause was tabled in Brussels this week by British MEP Robert Goodwill in time for a crucial vote by the environment committee on July 9 and 10.

If adopted, it would go to the full European parliament in September for approval. If not, then all animal health products could be on a prescription only basis from 2004. &#42