Significant progress has been made on reducing the potential for animal medicine shortages after Brexit.
In July, a European Medicines Agency (EMA) survey identified potential supply issues for 88 human and 20 veterinary medicines when the UK leaves the EU.
But Rick Clayton, technical director at AnimalhealthEurope, an association which represents manufacturers of animal medicines, said a number of the problems have since been ironed out.
Speaking at a Brexit event organised by the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH), he said: “The [EMA] followed this up, because it was a concern, and they worked with all the Market Authorisation Holders and sorted out a few issues and misunderstandings.
“With a bit of assistance and guidance, they managed to bring that down to just 39 medicines, of which about 14 are veterinary.”
Mr Clayton was unable to name the 14 medicines which could end up in short supply, but said there was ‘every chance’ some of the remaining issues could still be resolved.
One big potential hurdle is multi-lingual packaging on medicines, which allows manufacturers to supply smaller markets alongside more commercially viable larger ones.
Because the UK is leaving the EMA, dual labelling could become a problem, particularly for Ireland.
The Irish market is only a quarter of the size of the British market, and 73 per cent of its veterinary medicines are dual-labelled for the UK.
John Keogh, director of the Animal and Plant Health Association (APHA) Ireland, said: “This has the potential to cause both short-term impacts on availability and longer term impacts, because you can have individual labels for the different markets, but that comes with a cost attached to it.
“For vaccines and short shelf-life products, that becomes more commercially difficult. We fear we will have a reduction in the availability of veterinary medicines post-Brexit if we cannot maintain some of the flexibilities around packaging.”