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Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


Health Canada proposes tighter controls over veterinary drug imports

Thursday, April 23, 2015 > 12:10:59

(Better Farming by Susan Mann)

Health Canada is proposing to tighten control over imports into Canada of veterinary drugs for personal use and the importation of bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Jean Szkotnicki, president of the Canadian Animal Health Institute, says the organization welcomes the proposal. The Institute represents Canada’s animal pharmaceutical industry. Last year, sales by the Institute’s member companies in Canada were about $700 million, its website says.

Own-use imports and bulk active pharmaceutical ingredient imports account for about 10 to 13 per cent of the veterinary drugs used in Canada. The Institute is concerned imports are eating into member companies’ markets.

Currently, pharmacists and veterinarians can import bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients to create products, such as feed.

“I think (Health Canada) is going to put controls over the importation of antimicrobials,” she says. “With these controls they (Health Canada) will be able to know how much is coming in and where it’s being used. If you’re going to have a policy direction on antimicrobial resistance, those are things you have to know.”

Once the changes are fully implemented, farmers’ own-use drug imports likely won’t be allowed “to the same extent” as they are now, she says. But “right now I don’t think there is a lot of own-use drug imports as there was in the past.”

She adds “active pharmaceutical ingredients are being imported and used by the health professionals and I think we do need to have controls over that too.”

Szkotnicki says the changes Health Canada is proposing will allow recognition “of some of the other differences between veterinary and human medicines. One of those things is to have the technical requirements and the review efforts be proportional to the risk so that we can allow for some of the natural health products and maybe some of the alternative antimicrobials that don’t quite fit into that drug classification to be registered here in Canada.”

Health Canada also announced in its April 17 press release it is continuing work with stakeholders to increase appropriate veterinary oversight for farmers to access antibiotics considered to be important in human medicine. This change will require further amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations and Feeds Regulation, the release says.

Health Canada has also been working with the pharmaceutical industry to phase out animal product labels’ growth promotion claims for antibiotics important in human medicine by December 2016. That change began last year.

The changes are designed to encourage the prudent use of antimicrobial drugs for food-producing animals, Health Canada says. “This effort is important to minimize the global emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance and conserve the effectiveness of available antimicrobials.”

Canada’s major livestock groups, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Pork Council, Chicken Farmers of Canada and Dairy Farmers of Canada have all issued press releases in support of Health Canada’s proposals to amend Food and Drug Regulations concerning own-use veterinary drug imports and to strengthen control over importation of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

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