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Government Response To Medicines Review Is Positive - NFU

Many of the NFU's concerns on the dispensing of prescription-only veterinary
medicines have been allayed with the publication of the Government's
response to an independent review of the issue.

The Government's response to the review, conducted by Professor Sir John
Marsh, is positive and constructive and takes into account many of the NFU's

NFU Animal Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Neil Cutler said he was
pleased the Government had agreed it was important that vets retain the
privilege to dispense medicines but that it is vital they become more
transparent in setting their prices.

He also welcomed the Government's support for the continuation of the
Pharmaceutical Merchant's List distribution system, safeguarding farmers'
right to buy certain over-the-counter medicines from qualified distributors.

The Government's intention to challenge recent EU proposals that all farm
animal medicines should be prescribed by vets was also welcomed.

Mr Cutler said: "We are extremely encouraged by the Government's response to
the review. It shows that the views of farmers have been taken seriously.

"Of particular importance is the Government's endorsement of our view that
there is a desperate need for prices charged by vets for dispensing
medicines to be more transparent."

He added: "The system of availability of veterinary medicines to farmers has
worked well in this country for several years. With the outcome of this
review, we hope that it will continue to do so for many more."

The Independent Review of Dispensing by Veterinary Surgeons of Prescription
only Medicines was announced by the Government in March 2000 and published
last May before being put to Government later in the year.

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