The Council of Agriculture (COA) on Thursday announced a plan to work with veterinarians to ease import restrictions on animal drugs after a lawmaker’s comments about the issue triggered a public furor.
On Wednesday last week, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) asked COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) to crack down on the use of unapproved veterinary drugs, citing a complaint from a voter who blamed chemotherapy drugs for the death of a pet.
Kao’s remarks drew a flood of criticism from animal lovers on social media who said that Taiwanese veterinarians routinely use gray-market drugs due to a dearth of legally imported products.
Photo: Lo Chi, Taipei Times
Agricultural officials have created a plan to address the shortage of veterinary drugs after officials heard complaints from the Taiwan Veterinary Medicine Association at a meeting organized by Kao, the council said in a news release.
In response to criticism over the rigidity and red tape involved in importing animal drugs, registered veterinary trade groups and clinics would be empowered to import and stockpile the medicines, it said.
In addition, importers would not be required to present paper photocopies of the drug’s sale permit issued by its country of origin or authorization documents from the original manufacturer, it said.
Importers would also receive waivers for certain requirements, including the presentation of a physical copy of a drug’s sales permit in its country of origin, among other restrictions deemed unnecessary, the council said.
The council and the Ministry of Health and Welfare are to conduct regular evaluations to approve the veterinary use of drugs designed for humans under a new regulation to be created under Article 4 of the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), it said.
According to the act, regulations governing the use of human drugs on dogs, cats and animals not raised for economic value “shall be stipulated by the central competent authority in collaboration with the central health competent authority.”
This measure is necessary to avoid contraventions of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法), it said.
Chang Fang-chia (張芳嘉), dean of National Taiwan University’s School of Veterinarian Medicine, said the proposed easing of import restrictions would be a boon for Taiwanese veterinarians trying to obtain medicines.
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