Veterinary trouble

 
Published: Monday 15 March 1999

THE cost of complying with an environmental legislation in the European Union may have far reaching impacts. It could force medicines for animals to go off the market, say drug makers. According to the legislation, in order to gain a marketing licence, European manufacturers must conduct an environmental impact assessment of any new product, including medicines for animals. But at the same time, the cost of doing this will be prohibitive, claims the uk National Office of Animal Health (noah), which represents the makers of drugs for animals.

A majority of medicines for animal available in the uk are niche products for specific conditions. "It is of obvious benefit to have absolute confidence in the environmental safety of animal medicines. But it is ironic that the huge cost that the companies have to bear in providing this information is likely to mean that many medicines are lost to the detriment of animal welfare," said noah's technical executive Stephen Dawson.

He called on Europe to follow the us example and find more practical ways of assessing the environmental impact of medicines for animals.

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