Secretary of State Hilary Benn has announced that the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) will remain a DEFRA agency, rather than merge with another regulatory body.

Speaking before Parliament on April 29, Mr Benn said: “Following consultation on the future of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate I have decided to retain the VMD as a DEFRA executive agency.

“The VMD is one of the DEFRA regulators covered by the recommendation by Philip Hampton, in his review of regulatory inspections and enforcement, that they should be merged with one of seven thematic regulators. Having carried out a consultation on two options: either merger with another regulator or retention of VMD as an executive agency of DEFRA, I have concluded that there is no basis, or appetite amongst VMD’s customers and stakeholders, for merger.

“VMD’s primary role is the regulation of veterinary medicinal products, in which it is one of the leading regulatory agencies in the EU, and it already complies with the Hampton principles in the way it operates.

“DEFRA will now consider the possibility of examining whether the flexibilities afforded by trading fund status would help the VMD increase its efficiency and improve its service delivery. Any consideration of trading fund status will be subject to a further consultation,” he said.

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