Veterinary medicine manufacturers have demanded progress on developing a single EU-wide licensing system.

They say innovation across the continent is being stifled by high administrative and drug development costs.

IFAH-Europe – the representative body of manufacturers of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products – wants a single market in veterinary medicines across the EU to ensure the availability of medicines to protect the health and welfare of animals.

At its annual conference in Brussels, entitled “Better regulation for veterinary medicines: Road to a European marketing authorisation”, IFAH-Europe called for action.

With the decision-making process on future veterinary medicines legislation starting later this year, it questioned why Europe’s animals, farmers, vets and pet owners should have to wait any more decades to see pan-European availability of authorised veterinary medicines.

IFAH-Europe wants to see an end to what it calls the “exorbitantly high” administrative burden associated with the licensing of veterinary medicines – double that of human medicines – in order to stimulate much-needed innovation in animal health.

Its chairman Alejandro Bernal said: “A lot of work remains to be done to make veterinary legislation more efficient and Europe more attractive for continued investment in innovation.

“We encourage industry and policymakers to work together to build one harmonised licensing system to achieve our ultimate goal of improving the availability of authorised veterinary medicines for the benefit of vets, farmers, pet owners and animals across all EU member states.

“Now is the time to complete the journey to one true single market in veterinary medicines in the upcoming review of the legislative framework.”

The conference attracted leading figures from within the EU, including representatives of the Greek and incoming Italian presidencies to the EU.

IFAH-Europe maintains new medicines are essential, not only to fight animal disease and protect public health, but to ensure safe and sustainable food production.

With one system Europe could also increase competitiveness as small players, as well as big players, would have easier access to the EU market, it says.

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