Veterinary Medicines Directorate Strategy
It should also be noted that the recently published Regulatory Science Strategy from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) includes, as part of their goal of ‘Strengthening a life cycle approach to benefit-risk assessment’, the proposal to ‘Improve the evaluation of environmental and residues adverse events’ (2.4.3).
The strategy document notes that there is growing concern regarding the impact of pharmaceuticals in the environment, both in relation to their potential effects on ecosystems and effects on human safety.
The strategy goes on to list the steps that the VMD will look to undertake in order to improve the evaluation of environmental and residues adverse events. These will include:
- understand the existing systems of environmental monitoring (of terrestrial and aquatic systems), for chemicals used as veterinary medicines in the UK.
- research and develop appropriate guidance on the risks of secondary exposure from household contamination, and exposure of bees and other pollinators, from topically administered veterinary medicines for companion animals.
- evaluate the need for post authorisation environmental monitoring programmes for those compounds considered to be a high risk to ecosystems.
VMD Regulatory Science Strategy (2020) [VMD] [online] Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/936195/PCDOCS-_1853658-v8-Regulatory_Science_Strategy_17.11.20.pdf [accessed 29/1/2021]
The VMD strategy paper referred to above is not the final published strategy – it was a draft paper out for consultation until 31st January 2021. There was a presentation about companion animal parasiticides at the VMD’s open day in November 2020 from the Veterinary Products Committee (an independent multi-disciplinary committee that advises the VMD). It highlights some of the gaps in the evidence and suggests other options, including the need for professional reflection on parasiticide use and better information for veterinary professionals and pet owners, as well as the option of regulatory change. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2K2rwJ8GkU&feature=youtu.be