What happens when a cat takes shampoo
PD Medicines: How do you rate the supply of medicines to animals in Germany?
Dr. Emmerich: Numerous approved veterinary medicinal products are available for cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats. The supply situation for these animal species can be described as good. Far fewer veterinary drugs are available for the treatment of rare diseases in these animal species or in animal species for whose treatment there is no sufficiently large sales market for drugs, such as horses, milk sheep, goats, fish or guinea pigs and hamsters. For example, no anti-inflammatory drug (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) is approved for sheep, or not a single anti-parasitic drug for goats. In these cases, the veterinarian can try to close the therapy gap by reallocating other drugs. However, this is not always possible because, for example, the bringing in of human medicines from other European countries or of veterinary medicines from third countries such as Switzerland or the USA for use on animals is prohibited. Furthermore, delivery difficulties or the loss of approvals repeatedly lead to new, sometimes life-threatening therapy bottlenecks, both in the field of livestock as well as in the field of small animals and horses.
PD Medicines: Are Animal Vaccination Rates Satisfactory?
Dr. Emmerich: As in human medicine, the success of good vaccination strategies means that there is no longer any need for vaccination. At present, for example, chickens and turkeys are required to be vaccinated against atypical avian influenza (Newcastle Disease) nationwide, which is not always understood by hobby poultry farmers. At the European level, many vaccinations for food-producing animals are prohibited for trade policy reasons, e.g. against European swine fever. There is no vaccine available for other animal diseases, e.g. against African swine fever, which has threatened the pig population in Europe for some time and would have devastating effects if it were introduced into Germany. Some vaccines have to be brought from abroad with the involvement of the regional authorities because they are not available in Germany for certain animal species or indications. Due to globalization and the trend towards long-distance travel, old and new infectious diseases are brought into Germany time and again, e.g. distemper, and in individual cases even rabies. As in human medicine, there is also a permanent vaccination commission in veterinary medicine, which is located at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health. There, experts regularly issue current vaccination recommendations and point out new risks of infection.
PD medicinal products: For human medicinal products, prescription and dispensing are separate; for veterinary medicinal products, both are in the hands of the veterinarian. Does this make sense?
Dr. Emmerich: The veterinary dispensing right is an exception to the pharmacy monopoly and allows the veterinarian to purchase pharmaceuticals from wholesalers, dispense them to the keeper of the animals he treats and to manufacture pharmaceuticals himself to a very limited extent. The veterinary dispensing law has proven itself to be effective and, especially for farm animals, inexpensive supply of pharmaceuticals while at the same time ensuring consumer health protection. The close temporal connection of the drug delivery to the diagnosis and advice (on application, dosage, residue problems, waiting times) by the veterinarian ensures a quick start of treatment and correct application, on which a quick healing of the disease depends. No other professional group than veterinarians can provide advice and control of the application and the success of the treatment. This ensures animal welfare and consumer health protection when using medicinal products in animals.
PD Medicines: Medicines for pets are also sold through pet and pet shops, right?
Dr. Emmerich: Yes. According to the pharmaceutical law, pet animals include ornamental fish, ornamental or songbirds, carrier pigeons, terrarium animals, small rodents, ferrets or dwarf rabbits. In order to ensure the supply of pharmaceuticals to these animal species, there are eased approvals for pet pharmaceuticals with substances that are only available in pharmacies. These medicinal products are exempt from authorization or registration requirements, they are automatically available for sale and no specialist knowledge is required when they are placed on the market. This means that the pharmaceutical company is solely responsible for their quality, effectiveness and safety and that they may be offered outside of pharmacies without the presence of a competent person. From a veterinary point of view, every treatment of pets in the sense of animal welfare should be accompanied by expert veterinary advice. Unfortunately, this is often not the case with the exclusive treatment by laypeople with retail pet medicines.
PD Pharmaceuticals: Should approval procedures for veterinary medicinal products be simplified so that animals are given fewer human medicinal products?
Dr. Emmerich: With regard to quality requirements, no distinction should be made between human and veterinary medicinal products. For veterinary medicinal products, too, there are simplified licensing conditions for rare indications and animal species, for the treatment of which there is no sufficiently large sales market for medicinal products. Nevertheless, there are still therapeutic gaps that can be reduced through additional incentives, but not completely eliminated. It will therefore not be possible to completely dispense with the use of human medicinal products in veterinary medicine in the future either.
PD Pharmaceuticals: On veterinary drugs and environmental pollution. Are the existing legal provisions sufficient so as not to pollute the environment too much?
Dr. Emmerich: The assessment of environmental pollution is the subject of the approval process for veterinary medicinal products. The exact extent of the environmental pollution caused by veterinary medicinal products is ultimately not known. The pollution of the environment can only be minimized through proper use and proper disposal of the pharmaceuticals. Veterinary expertise is also essential for this. We are currently investigating whether the legal requirements are sufficient to adequately protect the environment. Based on the research results, the legal situation can then be adjusted if necessary.
PD Arzneimittel: What about consumer protection? Can we safely consume food or do we have to fear the use of drugs in farm animals?
Dr. Emmerich: In the case of food-producing animals, only drugs with active ingredients whose residue behavior has been tested and which have been classified as harmless for the consumer may be used. After using these drugs in livestock, the waiting time to be observed ensures that the maximum residue levels stipulated by law are not reached. In regular examinations of the food for residues of veterinary drugs, the legally stipulated maximum residue values are almost never exceeded. Therefore, animal foods can be consumed safely, even if a farm animal had to be treated due to an illness.
PD Medicines: How do you rate the legal restrictions on the administration of certain antibiotics to animals in order not to endanger the availability of reserve antibiotics for humans?
Dr. Emmerich: A large number of (reserve) antibiotics are only available as medicinal products for human use. The veterinary profession supports the well-founded questioning of the use of antibiotics that are approved for both human and veterinary medicine. In order to maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics in the long term, veterinary medicine has been following guidelines for the careful use of antibacterial veterinary drugs (antibiotic guidelines) for almost two decades. By recording and evaluating the use of antibiotics in livestock, a further contribution is made to minimizing the use of antibiotics, which also serves to maintain the effectiveness of (reserve) antibiotics in human medicine.
PD Arzneimittel: Thank you for the interview!
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