New imports broaden animal health choices

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British vets and farmers will soon be able to access a wider spectrum of animal health vaccines, improving competition and choice in what was traditionally a relatively closed sector.

The opening up of the market follows the successful licensing of established international vaccines by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, allowing for the import and sale of new products in the UK. It has been facilitated by Kernfarm, a Dutch pharmaceutical firm, which has been working with a range of international partners to bring wider choice to the British agricultural and veterinary industry.

“There are only a few large veterinary pharmaceutical companies operating in the UK – many smaller firms have tried to obtain access to the market in the past and failed because the regulation is so difficult,” explains Kernfarm director Tim van Rijn. “But we are selecting the best vaccines out there, all with more than 10 years’ proven use. Because of this evidence it is easier to secure VMD registration as the vaccines are proven to be safe and effective.”

Kernfarm has registered six vaccines over the past year – from three different firms – and has another 10 in the immediate pipeline. The latest success was a vaccine for Mycoplasma Synoviae – a disease which causes respiratory infections in poultry – produced by Italian firm Fatro. Despite being one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Europe, with a portfolio of more than 60 vaccines, Fatro has never managed to get its immunological products registered for the UK market.

“We have been looking to expand our vaccine portfolio into northern Europe – and have lots of successful animal health products to offer farmers and vets alike,” says Fatro’s general manager Silvia Dal Magro. “Now that Kernfarm has managed to get the first vaccine registered it means we can put other proven products forward to support the UK agricultural sector.”

Kernfarm isn’t just looking to bring EU vaccines to British producers – the US and other countries have plenty of established brands which could fill the gaps in the UK market and improve competition. “We recently succeeded in getting a Mycoplasma Bovis vaccine from the US temporarily licensed under special dispensation (SIC) for use in the UK,” says Mr van Rijn. “There are better products out there which UK vets currently can’t use – by working with them and understanding what challenges they face we can facilitate the solution.”

Although there is already a Mycoplasma Synoviae vaccine available in the UK, the Fatro version is a proven high quality option – and giving vets a choice should reduce prices for farmers, he adds.

“Market dominance is never good for any marketplace. This is the dawn of a new era – large pharma companies will no longer dictate to vets which products they must buy – it’s finally going to be possible to bring choice and competition to the UK.”