Animal industry fear bottleneck in veterinary medicine to fight swine and bird flu

Published August 25, 2020, 1:32 PM

by James A. Loyola

Animal health industry stakeholders are appealing for the resolution of an impasse between the Health and Agriculture departments that threaten food security amid the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the African Swine Fever and Avian Flu.

 In a letter Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Agriculture Secretary William Dar, the animal health industry stakeholders are asking the agencies to continue to allow the Bureau of Animal Industry to register veterinary medicine and products instead of the Food and Drug Administration.

 They noted that, the FDA currently has its hands full because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the BAI is thus in a better position to continue registering veterinary medicine and products.

Groups making the appeal include the Association of BAI-Registered Companies and Recognized Testing Laboratories Inc. (ABAIL),National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc., Phil. Association of Feed Millers Inc., Phil. Association of Pharmacists in the Veterinary Industry, Phil. College of Poultry Practitioners, Phil. Eggboard Association, Phil. Society of Animal Nutritionists, Phil. Veterinary Drug Association, Phil. Veterinary Medical Association, Pork Producers Federation of the Phils., and the United Broiler Raisers Association.

The groups noted that, currently, these products are being registered with the BAI pursuant to the Joint DOH and DA Administrative Order No. 2013-0026 which has just expired. Thus, the registrations of all these products will be done by the FDA pursuant to RA No. 9711.

“The animal health industry is facing various problems brought about by endemic diseases like the African Swine Fever (ASF) and Avian Flu (AI). To combat and remedy these epidemics, there must be continuous supply of existing and new products designed to eradicate and control the spread of these diseases,” they pointed out.

These products include veterinary drugs and products, veterinary biological and disinfectants for farm use. These products must renew their expiring registrations and new ones must be registered at the soonest possible time.

“The unexpected occurrence of COVID-19 pandemic has affected the registration process of these veterinary drugs and products, veterinary biological and disinfectants for farm use,” the groups said.

They are thus appealing for the extension of JAO No. 2013-0026 for another five years in order for the BAI to continue with the registration of veterinary drugs and products, veterinary biological and disinfectants for farm use.

“It has the technical knowhow and sufficient number of personnel to attend to these matters,” they added.

The groups Further are also asking “for the automatic extension of one year registration of all expiring products for the year 2020 and for the speedy processing of new products for registration.”

They explained that, “Under the present set-up, food security and safety for the Filipinos and cost efficiency in terms of operational implementation have been achieved and accomplished.” “The continuation of JAO No. 2013-0026 will enable both the DOH and DA to concentrate on specific concerns and expertise. The Department of Health, specially the Food and Drug Administration would then concentrate on the more compelling problems posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the department of Agriculture on continuing ways to combat the African Swine Fever (ASF) and Avian Flu (AI),” they added.(