A regional approach is needed to harmonise and improve the registration, distribution and quality control of veterinary drugs. This was agreed by attendees of the OIE Conference on Veterinary Medicinal Products in the Middle-East held in Damascus, Syria, from 2-4 December.
Recognising that misuse of veterinary medicinal products, whether intentional or unintentional, represents a risk for animal and public health, OIE Members committed to take actions at all stages of the development, production and marketing of veterinary medicinal products.
Access to good quality veterinary medicinal products for all livestock producers in the Middle-East is crucial, in particular to small farmers whose livelihoods depend on their animals. “Bacteria, parasites and viruses are a constant threat to animal production, they are obstacles to access to regional and international markets for animals and animal products from the Middle-East and critical factors in exacerbating poverty,” explained OIE director General, Dr Bernard Vallat.
The Conference recommended that, at regional level, the bulk of efforts will be put on capacity of laboratories in terms of management systems of veterinary drugs testing methods in laboratories.
Networking and training among laboratories and national authorities responsible of the registration and quality control of veterinary drugs will be addressed in part through the OIE Twinning Initiative which provides for direct exchanges of scientists from twinned laboratories between OIE Member Countries.
OIE Member Countries in the Middle-East region also recommended the establishment of a common regional procedure for the registration of veterinary medicinal products.
At national level, OIE Member Countries notably decided to enhance good veterinary governance, harmonise legislations and come into line with OIE quality standards for the Veterinary Services, using the OIE PVS tool.
They will do so thanks to designated focal points trained by the OIE – direct contacts to the organisation - responsible for creating a network of experts within the country to: establish a dialogue, cooperation and communication with competent authorities; monitor legislation, and control of veterinary products to ensure that they are aligned with OIE international standards, guidelines and recommendations.
Efforts extend to the control of residues from veterinary drugs in food products of animal origin, in agreement with standards developed by the Codex alimentarius.
The Conference brought together 160 participants from the different countries of the Region represented by their Chief Veterinary Officers and national focal points responsible for controlling veterinary medicinal products. Other participants included representatives of regional and sub-regional organisations in Middle-East, funding agencies, major global and regional producers of veterinary medicinal products and NGOs involved in developing sustainable livestock production in Middle-East.
The Conference was kindly hosted by the Government of Syria. It was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Veterinary Services of Syria with the support of the OIE Headquarters and the OIE Regional Representation for the Middle-East.