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Tuesday 22 May 2018

EU plans to reduce VAT on animal vaccines - MEP

Farmers have been urged to curb the use of antibiotics. Stock picture
Farmers have been urged to curb the use of antibiotics. Stock picture
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

The EU Commission has confirmed that it is working on plans to allow member states to apply a zero VAT rate to all vaccines for veterinary purposes in future, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament has said.

Speaking in Brussels during Global Immunisation Week, the MEP said a 23pc standard VAT rate applies to non-oral vaccinations in Ireland, while the 0pc rate applies on orally-administered vaccines.

“In a written question to the Commission I asked if under EU law, this rate can be reduced in light of the "One Health" approach to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the importance of vaccination in disease prevention.

“Prevention is better than cure and vaccination programmes are part of a preventative strategy.

"Good husbandry practices, good hygiene and quality housing conditions are also important, and antibiotics cannot be used to compensate for any shortcomings in this area, she added.

“The Commission has said that all member states can apply a reduced rate of VAT of a minimum of 5pc to the supply of pharmaceutical products for veterinary purposes, which include vaccines".

"And in addition, the Commission plans to amend the VAT directive to allow member states to reduce the VAT rate to 0pc for the supply of pharmaceutical products for veterinary purposes", McGuinness confirmed.

This week the Agriculture Committee of Parliament called for more globally coordinated research into new antimicrobials and their alternatives, including ways to strengthen natural defence abilities of animals.

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Education, training and public awareness campaigns based on latest science and aimed at prudent use of antibiotics also have a crucial role to play.

The committee called for immunisation by vaccination as a cost-effective health intervention that helps to combat antimicrobial resistance, while it’s equally important that veterinary practitioners should not receive incentives to prescribe, promote and supply certain medication and insist that prescription-only status for antibiotics, the cooperation between veterinarians and farmers and their accountability are key to the success. It also calls for EU-wide monitoring of veterinary antimicrobial sales and consumption in all domesticated animals.

"Use of antibiotics on Irish farms is lower than many of our European neighbours, but with a global focus on AMR more can be done in this area and Irish farmers are willing to engage," McGuinness added.

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