Livestock and poultry raisers expressed relief after the resolute of the long-drawn uncertainty of which agency and standards will regulate the registration and use of veterinary drugs and biologics.
Last February 17, the DA issued Memorandum Circular No. 1 s. 2021 that clearly lays down the Bureau of Animal Industry’s continued jurisdiction over these non-prescribed veterinary products.
In a statement, the Philippine Veterinary Drug Association (PVDA) lauded the decision of the Department of Agriculture to retain the regulation over the importation of veterinary drugs and animal feed ingredients.
This comes after such authority was almost given back to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which had not much time to regulate the agricultural inputs as its hands were full due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since July last year, the industry had remained in limbo with plans of the FDA taking over the regulation of veterinary drugs and biologics under the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.
After months of engagement, the agencies and stakeholders involved were able to finally put the jurisdiction tussle to rest, largely retaining BAI’s oversight and regulation over non-prescribed veterinary products.
“This ensures that animal health standards will remain as the regulatory standard when such products are issued rather than human health standards, which are more stringent and, if applied have major implications on the timeliness of regulatory approvals for much-needed products by the livestock and poultry sectors,” PVDA said.
“By keeping regulation under the agencies that have subject matter expertise, we are assured of efficient and effective regulation of our members’ veterinary products. These are especially important during this time when animal diseases and pandemics wreak havoc on our downstream industries regularly, such as ASF today,” the PVDA said.
The Association also hopes that this development is a sign that with proper multi-stakeholder engagement and dialogue, the agriculture sector can make great strides in turning it into a key pillar of the country’s economic strength.
“We thank the leadership of the DA, DOH, BAI and FDA for their proactive involvement of industry players in resolving this issue. This latest resolution is proof that through transparent and participatory multi-stakeholder engagement, industry challenges can be overcome,” said the PVDA.
It said that, “A special shout-out goes to Secretary William Dar, DA Undersecretary William Medrano, BAI Director Reildrin Morales and BAI Animal Feeds, Veterinary Drugs and Biologics Control Division Chief Fe Cabullo for keeping our Association and other industry organizations involved throughout the consultation process.”
“This is truly a blueprint and best-practice of stakeholder engagement which should be replicated across other issues affecting the agriculture sector today. Together, we can overcome any challenge and move our entire agriculture sector from being the economy’s sick man to a key pillar of economic growth and strength in the years to come,” PVDA said.
The DA shares the optimism of industry and vows to enable the sector’s success through ease of doing business commitment and allocating resources for efficient regulatory processing at BAI.
“This resolution of a long-standing issue on the jurisdiction of BAI over veterinary drugs and biologics comes to show the power of what strong industry-government partnership can do. We are happy to finally put to rest this issue of 30-plus years,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar. He said “The uncertainty of contradicting or conflicting mandates are among the reforms our new DA seeks to address, easing the ability to do business and creating environments for industry to flourish. To further ensure we fulfill the vision of ease of doing business at BAI, we will make sure appropriate resources are provided so that these regulatory applications are issued expeditiously and within EODB Act prescribed timelines.”