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Europe report: Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the Global Animal Health Industry

Brussels, 28 June 2023

Urgent need for forward-looking EU regulation to boost innovation for animal health and welfare. 

Following the publication of the 2015 Global Benchmarking Survey on the competitiveness of the animal health industry, Europe looks keenly towards the new veterinary medicines legislation currently going through first reading to ensure streamlined and more forward-looking rules that will encourage innovation for animal health and welfare now and into the future.

Regulatory regimes can make or break the industry’s ability to fulfil its function of providing solutions to prevent and combat animal disease in an effective, cost-efficient and sustainable manner. Now twenty years on from the first survey1, 69% of respondents report that in Europe current procedures are stifling innovation and 100% of those interviewed cite a reduced range of treatment options available and a lack of availability for certain animal species as a direct result of the current regime.

Despite great efforts to harmonise regulatory procedures for veterinary medicines in Europe, respondents cite the high costs of maintaining products on the market and lack of harmonisation amongst member states for marketing authorisations as two major challenges. Over the past 4-5 years, the biggest concern for those surveyed has been the incapacity to address public concern on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the impact this has on policy-making. This creates an unpredictable regulatory environment and has seriously discouraged innovation in this area. The industry wishes to play its part to curb the development of resistance, but companies who once spearheaded the present portfolio of modern antibiotics cannot risk investment in new solutions that might be banned for veterinary use at some unknown point in the future.

There are many positive findings on improvements made to the regulatory processes over the past years with respondents reporting continued satisfaction with the centralised procedure for registering veterinary medicines, more scientific analysis using the benefit:risk approach, modernisation through electronic submissions and greater efficiency in the management of changes to the authorised information on the product. There is also a general welcome for many aspects of the proposed future Veterinary Medicines Regulation, including the approaches to protection of technical documentation, pharmacovigilance, labelling and variation simplification.

Now the industry looks to the future legislation currently undergoing revision and asks for the Commission’s objectives to be met. Commenting on the survey’s findings, IFAH-Europe Secretary General Roxane Feller said, “Manufacturers of veterinary medicines are eager to continue to prevent and manage animal disease, but this needs a regulatory environment that is conducive to innovation. We call on decision-makers to heed the voice of science and consider the application of the new risk-based rules into the future. Now is the time for a less complex licencing system that paves the way for industry to be innovation-ready, to safeguard animal health and welfare.”

>Download the Europe report from the Global Benchmarking Survey

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