Quarterly news, views and activities from the European animal health industry I October 2007

Message from the Managing Director

News from IFAH-Europe

Latest EU News & Developments

IFAH-Europe in the news

Animals are good for you

Animal Health Explained

Calendar of events


Dear Reader,

Better Regulation was one of the strong focuses of our federation in May and June, with the organisation of our annual conference dedicated to this issue. Inspired by the success of this event, IFAH-Europe has followed with a very active summer putting the finishing touches to the ETPGAH Action Plan for fighting animal diseases worldwide and promoting the outcome of its European Benchmarking study.  This stresses our federation’s will to contribute to the debate on improvement of our existing regulatory framework.

IFAH-Europe is also following the works of the European Parliament committees on “MRLs”, or Maximum Residue Limits of veterinary medicinal products legally accepted in foodstuffs. This impact of this draft legislation on the Veterinary medicines manufacturers is considerable and we hope to see the objectives of Better regulation fruitfully implemented when reviewing the legislation.

Finally, IFAH-Europe will be celebrating the benefits of happy, healthy animals on 21 November 2023 at the European Pet Night hosted by MEPs Neil Parish and Paulo Casaca. The event will gather not simply the animal health sector and political decision-makers, but will be the occasion to listen to some testimonies on the animal-human partnership.

I look forward to meeting you all in Brussels on 21 November.

Best regards,

Declan O'Brien
Managing Director



Celebrating happy healthy animals throughout Europe - Pet Night takes Brussels over on 21 November 2007.

Pet Night is back to Brussels. The European Pet Night 2007 gives recognition to the unique contribution of animals to human well-being, by their mere presence or by the services they provide to humans. Pet Night will feature associations dedicated to developing and strengthening the animal/human partnership and shed light on the multi-faceted contribution of animals to society. IFAH-Europe has long been committed to contributing to healthy, happy companion animals, for the benefit of society at large, by striving for the availability of quality veterinary medicines on the market.

This early evening event held in the heart of Brussels European quarter will offer all stakeholders involved in the animal sector a unique opportunity to meet and network.

IFAH-Europe is proud to announce that European Pet Night will be hosted by MEPs Neil Parish and Paulo Casaca, Chairman and vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Intergroup for animal welfare. They will be joined by representatives of numerous European animal-related associations, as well as by pet owners and their companion, who will bring a vivid testimony of the benefits of healthy, happy animals.

Organised by IFAH-Europe, the event will start at 18:30 on 21 November 2023 in the Brussels Renaissance Hotel. It takes the shape of a cocktails evening including by presentations and testimonies by the hosts and attendees.

All pets are welcome. Should you wish to attend this event, please contact Laurence Leclercq, External Communications Officer, [email protected] or +32 2 543 75 67.

ETPGAH: Action Plan to help combating the threat of animal diseases

The spread of existing animal diseases and the emergence of new ones are a threat to the health of both animals and humans, with over 70% of human epidemics being zoonoses (diseases shared by animals and humans). To counter this threat, stakeholders in the animal health sector have formed the Technology Platform for Global Animal Health (ETPGAH), chaired by the International Federation of Animal Health (IFAH) - Europe and supported by the European Commission (see Perspectives issue 5).

With its broad approach to include stakeholders from the public, private and societal sectors, its global perspective and pro-active strategy, the ETPGAH has developed a Vision 2015 and Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) that includes a listing of animal diseases that can have a significant impact on society. The SRA predicts the arrival of a range of new diseases over the next ten years including some potentially fatal zoonoses migrating from North Africa to the south of Europe.

The ETPGAH has now completed an Action Plan for implementation of the policy tasks. At its core is a disease prioritisation model that will facilitate agreement on the priority diseases.  For the EU, Member States and private funders of research, the prioritisation model will provide guidance in terms of focusing their research efforts in animal health. It will also facilitate coordination between funders to ensure that the limited resources for animal health research are used most efficiently.

For more information, please visit the ETPGAH website:



MRL Legislation review:

The European Commission adopted in April 2007 a proposal to amend the Regulation on Maximum Residue Limits (“MRL”) of veterinary medicinal products legally accepted in foodstuffs. The aim of the proposal is to stimulate innovation and improve availability of veterinary medicinal products.

The new legislation pursues four objectives:

  • Improving the availability of veterinary medicines in order to ensure optimal food-producing animals’ health and welfare, to as many species as possible, and avoid illegal use of substances,
  • Providing clear references for the control of residues of pharmacologically active substances in foodstuffs to improve consumer health protection and the functioning of the Single Market;
  • Clarifying the procedures MRLs and ensuring consistency with international standards; 
  • Enhancing readability of the legislation for the end-users (animal health professionals or authorities in Member states and third countries). 

In accordance with the co-decision procedure, the proposal has been submitted to the European Parliament and the Council before final adoption and is currently being discussed by the committees on Agriculture and on Environment and Consumer Protection. IFAH-Europe welcomes this initiative and is committed to ensuring protection of consumers while encouraging an efficient legislation for a good availability of medicines, avoiding unreasonable burdens for the animal health industry.

The final text of the European Commission proposal can be found at this link:




“Innovate to survive”: IFAH-Europe benchmarking study warns against excessive regulatory costs (Veterinary Times)

A shortage of innovation, higher production costs and progress-halting regulation is severely limiting EU drug companies, warned Declan O’Brien, Managing Director of IFAH-Europe at a lunch held by the British Veterinary Marketing Association in July.

Declan O’Brien explained that the latest European benchmarking survey (presented at the regulatory IFAH-Europe conference held in June 2007 - see issue 6) shows higher costs in defensive research in the EU than in the United States, reducing investments in new innovative products. “If we look at turnover in the EU, it is pretty much static. We spend more money on defensive research than the Unites States, where more money is going into innovation. Its market is more robust.”

IFAH-Europe is hoping that the veterinary code can be modified to encourage innovation in the European animal health sector without compromising the rigorous existing testing procedures. “We cannot compromise on safety and do not wish to advocate such an approach”, insisted Declan O’Brien.

“More support for innovation”, asks IFAH-Europe

“Despite many positive points introduced into the EU veterinary legislation in 2004; there are still certain ill-judged issues transposed from the human legislation,” declared IFAH-Europe technical Director Rick Clayton to EuraLEX, who contacted him to discuss the EU vet law reform proposal. The details of this interview were published in the August issue of EuraLEX.

Highlighting the findings of the IFAH benchmarking survey on veterinary medicines regulation, Rick Clayton pinpointed pending issues for the animal health sector that need addressing. He stressed the need to rethink data protection for newly authorised products and create separate data protection periods for every new major species to which a product is extended.

Rick Clayton also drew attention to a possible improvement of veterinary medicines’ “summary of product characteristics” policy. The SPC is the basis of information for health professionals on how to use the medicinal product safely and effectively.

Rick Clayton concluded that IFAH-Europe has already had discussions with the European Commission and national authorities “which were quite positive towards recognising the issue” and is well-aware of the long-term project this regulatory project represents.

Directive 2001/82/EC as amended by Directive 2004/28/EC can be viewed at this link: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/pharmaceuticals/review/doc/final_publ/dir_2004_28_20040430_en.pdf

For access to EuraLEX, please visit: http://www.pjbpubs.com/euralex/headlines.htm   




Conclusions of the VII International Congress “Pets, a source of health” (Madrid), organised by the Affinity trust.

The Spanish Fundación Affinity held its seventh international congress on the benefits of companion animals to human health. The mission of Fundación Affinity is to promote the role of pets in Society.

The congress is the seventh in a series of international events focusing on interaction with pets to improve human health, through the so-called pet-assisted therapy and education (PATE). The Affinity congresses gather professionals form various fields implementing PATE, such as psychologists, psychiatrists and specialised educators and allow them to share their experience, methods and case stories, and to discuss new scientific projects.

The Affinity trust has been committed to promoting research and implementation of PATE, as a complement to traditional psychotherapy, specialised education and rehabilitation or simply to improve the quality of life of elderly people or disabled children.
Proceedings of the conference are available in Spanish and English.

Please visit the Affinity website http://www.fundacion-affinity.org/es/congresoVII.asp or contact Mrs Laura Rodriguez at the Affinity Press Cabinet: +34 93 410 82 63, lrodriguez@hill&knowlton.com



What are biopharmaceuticals?

Biotechnology has revolutionised the research and development of new medicines and allows better product targeting for specific diseases and patient groups. Biopharmaceuticals are defined as pharmaceuticals manufactured by biotechnology methods, with the products having biological sources, usually involving live organisms or their active components.

The animal health sector offers some of the most promising applications of biotechnology to prevent, control and treat diseases in both companion and food-producing animals:

  • nano-vaccines;
  • refined diagnostic techniques: implanted nano-systems allow to detect minimal molecular or cellular changes in the animals’ organism and so to detect diseases such as cancer;
  • smart treatment deliveries: nano drug-delivery devices that can be implanted into the animal in advance of illness, that monitor, automatically and autonomously intervene with pharmaceuticals when needed.
  • nano-based diagnostic;
  • control of parasitic diseases: work is proceeding on the application of biotechnology to the development of vaccines against parasites in most food animals.

It is essential that this new technology be thoroughly assessed and implemented in a responsible manner.