18 January 2001
Vets blame red tape for drug costs

By Isabel Davies

RED-TAPE rather than overcharging is forcing British farmers to pay more for their animal medicines, the British Veterinary Authority claimed.

David Tyson, president of the BVA, said a special inquiry set up to look for cost savings was considering whether vets should continue to dispense medicines.

But the inquiry was looking in the wrong direction, he said.

“Neither the NFU nor its Scottish equivalent have complained that vets are ripping off farmers,” he told journalists in London on Thursday (18 January).

If there were unnecessarily high costs associated with providing medicines on farms, it was down to the regulators.

“We are in Europe and it is European legalisation that controls veterinary medicines, yet Fortress Britain additionally applies its own controls.

“There is machinery to make the overall system of medicines control more economic. Put that right and everything else that flows from it will work better.”

Mr Tyson claimed that the current system where vets act as a one-stop shop for advice and dispensing drugs is one that works.

“It has given good value for over half a century, providing a reasonably simple and conveniently accessible distribution system to the client.”

Changes to the licensing system would also bring additional benefits.

It would stop the black market in animal medicines which vets believe is devalues food safety and compromises animal health and welfare, said Mr Tyson.