Animals, just like people, suffer from disease and require proper care from the veterinarian, the farmer and the pet owner. When disease occurs, diagnosis and treatment under veterinary care should follow. Whenever possible, prevention is always better than cure. Keeping animals healthy and treating them with dignity is one of the main objectives of the animal health industry and applies equally to companion animals, livestock and wild animals.
Animals, just like people get sick and require medicines. Animals can get illnesses similar to human illnesses and so use similar types of medicines but they also get a variety of diseases and infections that people do not, requiring very different types of medicines. How animal medicines are delivered may also differ from how people take medicine.
With the rapidly increasing global population and the increasingly crowded nature of our planet where man and animal live in ever closer proximity the ability of infections to pass more frequently between species has increased. Preventive veterinary medicines and the widespread use and development of vaccines play an increasingly important role to combat infectious diseases that travel from animals to people (called 'zoonoses') on a global level.
The animal health industry is a highly regulated, science-driven sector focused on the provision of products that preserve the health and welfare of animals, protect human health and help to ensure the provision of safe, affordable and high quality food.
IFAH-Europe member companies invest over
€400 million in research and development every year
Our industry provides around
50,000 full time jobs in Europe
Total European sales amounted to
31% of worldwide sales in 2014
The benefits of animal medicines are almost incalculable: the reduction in animal suffering which allows animals to live longer, happier lives, the ensured safety of close contact with pets as well as farm animals, and the opening up of the cross-border travel for animals through health protection programmes are prime examples of the benefits.
Without animal medicines, people would be at greater risk from food-borne diseases such as salmonella and transmitted diseases such as rabies and avian influenza. And because food products from sick animals cannot be sold for human consumption, such products would become scarcer and therefore more expensive while farming would become less sustainable and would require far greater land areas to deliver the same quantity of food.
The animal health sector is science-driven and highly regulated, which means that its products – animal medicines, vaccines, etc. – must satisfy European standards to deliver quality, safety and efficacy. As these products are invaluable tools for farmers, veterinarians and animal owners alike the sector strives for more harmonised legislation to increase innovation and ensure the availability of all medicines across Europe to benefit the health and welfare of both food-producing and companion animals.
In order to stimulate more investment in new animal medicines, and to improve the availability of animal medicines across Europe, the European Commission has decided to review the licencing system which currently regulates veterinary medicines. This is a welcome step as it can now take up to 8-10 years and cost ±€150 million for a major new product to be registered. New harmonised and practical legislation could lower the administrative burden in bringing veterinary medicines to market and therefore benefit, consumers, farmers and pet owners by stimulating investment and innovation in animal health.Read more
The size of the animal health sector is just 3% of the human biopharmaceutical equivalent yet with 60% of human infectious diseases coming from animals it has a global role to play, which is far more important than its financial size. Keeping animals healthy is simply good practice: It protects their well being, it protects the human population and it protects our environment.
There are also economic benefits to society as the industry supports around 50,000 jobs and contributes to the viability of Europe’s 10 million farmers, the continued health, happiness and wellbeing of families in Europe and the development of extensive leisure industries.
People depend on animals for their food (eggs, milk products, meat and honey) and other essential by-products (wool and leather) as well as for companionship, assistance and many sport and leisure activities. It is therefore important that we ensure that Europe’s animals can be treated when they are ill, and that pet owners, farmers and vets all have ready access to affordable medicines if and when they are needed.
IFAH-Europe and partners celebrated the 10th edition of European Pet Night at the BELvue Museum in Brussels. Hosted by MEP Julie Girling, the guest speakers from the Dogs for the Disabled charity presented the work of the PAWS projects in the Netherlands and the UK. IFAH-Europe held a Pet Night drawing competition awards ceremony, with prizes presented to 3 primary school children from the Laeken European School in Brussels. (Download our press release, the presentations and pictures)
The EMA/IFAH-Europe info day on the theme ‘The latest developments - scientific review, marketing authorisation procedures and legislation’ took place at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in London with a record attendance of over 160 delegates. (Download the presentations)
IFAH-Europe joined a broad coalition of partner organisations representing Europe’s agricultural and food business interests and co-signed their ‘Food for Thought’ vision paper calling for better and smarter policy‐making that fosters innovation and creates jobs, ensuring that the EU agri‐food chain becomes more productive and resource‐efficient. (Read more and download the paper)
The European Platform for the Responsible Use of Medicines in Animals - EPRUMA, which includes IFAH-Europe, welcomed the Belgian and Spanish stakeholder platforms for the Responsible Use of veterinary medicines, AMCRA and VETRESPONSABLE, as associate members. (Visit www.epruma.eu)
IFAH-Europe published a set of pictograms for use on the immediate labels of veterinary medicines, as well as a best practice guide for the use of pictograms. (Download the pictograms and the guide)
IFAH-Europe welcomed Johannes Charlier as Project Manager for DISCONTOOLS (DISease CONtrol TOOLS), a project to identify research priorities for fighting animal diseases. (Visit www.discontools.eu)
At its annual conference on ‘Better regulation for veterinary medicines: Road to a European marketing authorisation’, IFAH-Europe called on decision-makers to complete the journey to a true single market and develop one single EU-wide marketing authorisation process for veterinary medicines. (Download the press release, the presentations and videos)
IFAH-Europe welcomed the release of the European Commission's proposals package for revised legislation for veterinary medicines and medicated feed. The federation firmly supported the Commission’s aim of improving the availability of veterinary medicines throughout Europe. (Download the press release)
IFAH-Europe spoke at the 9th TOPRA annual veterinary medicines symposium (Brussels, 13-14 October 2014). Key topics included the European Commission’s proposals for revised veterinary legislation, immunologicals and new technologies, global regulatory strategies, regulatory approaches for SMEs, as well as antimicrobial resistance. (Download the presentations)
IFAH-Europe welcomed the EMA’s 4th European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) report and expressed support for the concept of transparency of antibiotic use in animals, which is in line with action nr 10 of the European Commission’s action plan on antimicrobial resistance. (Download our press statement)
IFAH-Europe published an infographic titled ‘The pathway to new veterinary medicines’, explaining how veterinary medicines are made and brought to market (Download the infographic)
IFAH-Europe published a statement on European Antibiotic Awareness Day calling for the safeguarding of antibiotics for veterinary use for the future under the banner ‘as little as possible, as much as necessary’ to ensure animal health and welfare. (Download the statement)