Feed millers want DA in charge of veterinary products registration
The country’s biggest group of feed millers expressed their concern over the impasse on the issue of registration and certification of veterinary products between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Health (DOH).
The determination of which agency is responsible on this matter will also address the urgent issue of who should oversee the entry of imported veterinary drugs.
“The unresolved issue over authority or control of veterinary medicine and related products between the two agencies may hamper the government’s and private sectors’ response to the swine flu and avian influenza virus that continue to infect the country’s hog and poultry population,” Philippine Association of Feed Millers (Pafmi) said.
“Swine flu and avian influenza are serious viral infections that have placed the industry’s viability at risk … the responses [to these diseases] may be disrupted if the responsibility of registration, certification and testing of veterinary products remains unsettled,” it added.
Under the law, all drugs must be under the authority of the DOH’s Food and Drug Administration, but the agency’s unfamiliarity with veterinary medicines prompted it to ask the assistance of the DA’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).
A joint administrative order was signed by the two agencies which allowed the BAI to conduct the registration and certification of veterinary products but the order expired in 2018.
Pafmi recommended that all animal feed inputs especially vitamins and minerals must be placed under the DA’s supervision, noting the agency’s technical and administrative management coverage in the industry.
BAI Director Ronnie Domingo said the agency was willing to shoulder the responsibility provided it would be legally allowed to do so, noting that Agriculture Secretary William Dar had already asked Health Secretary Francisco Duque to renew the joint order.
“We are still waiting for the DOH’s decision because we already sent our proposal to them. In the meantime that the DOH has yet to streamline their systems, we are willing to help,” Domingo said.
He added that with the ongoing pandemic, food and agricultural stakeholders were assured of the unhampered movement of the supply of their inputs to ensure the continuous production of food.
Customs Assistant Commissioner Vincent Maronilla, for his part, said that they were hoping that the decision of the DA and DOH would result in the streamlining of import processes.
“Delays on their part mean delays on the part of [Bureau of] Customs, too. We hope there would not be too much red tape. That is our concern,” he said.
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