Eleven global veterinary associations have signed a Position Statement callingfor increased regulatory convergence and harmonization in order to ensure thatveterinarians globally can access the medicines they need to treat theirpatients. The Statement, initiated by the World Small Animal VeterinaryAssociation (WSAVA), is the latest step in its campaign to secure more equalaccess to vital veterinary medicines for companion animal veterinarians aroundthe world.

Restricted access to veterinary medicines because of regulatory issues inregions of the world including Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, is a long-standing problem and limits the efforts of many veterinarians to provideoptimal care to their patients. Sometimes, even essential medicines, such asthose required to properly manage pain, are difficult to access, causingimmense and unnecessary suffering.

The WSAVA recently formed a Therapeutics Guidelines Group (TGG) to spearheadits work in this area and to campaign to ensure more open access to thesemedications. Its new Position Statement is designed to raise awareness of theproblems around regulation and to call on governments and regulatory bodies toact. The Statement has been endorsed by:

  • The World Veterinary Association
  • HealthforAnimals
  • The Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations
  • The Commonwealth Veterinary Association
  • The Federación Iberoamericana de Asociaciones Veterinarias de Animales de Compañía
  • The Federation of Asian Small Animal Veterinary Associations
  • The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe
  • The Federation of Asian Veterinary Associations
  • The Fédération des Associations Francophones Vétérinaires pour Animaux de Compagnie
  • The Caribbean Veterinary Medical Association

It follows a 2018 Position Statement from the WSAVA outlining a range offactors which restrict global access to veterinary medicines and thesignificant impact on animal health and welfare this causes. This statementalso received wide support from the veterinary sector, including thoseassociations listed above.

In a survey of its members conducted by the WSAVA during 2016-2017, 75% ofrespondents confirmed that that problems in accessing veterinary medicalproducts hampered their ability to meet the needs of their patients and 20%assessed the impact of this issue as resulting in a severe restriction ontheir ability to provide a high level of care. During its 2019 World Congressin Toronto, Canada, in July, the WSAVA’s Therapeutics Guidelines Groupconvened a summit meeting of global veterinary associations and stakeholdersto discuss potential solutions. The new Position Statement was one of theoutputs from this meeting.

Commenting, Dr Walt Ingwersen, WSAVA Past President, said: “Difficulty inaccessing therapeutics to treat patients is a critical issue for companionanimal veterinarians in many parts of the world. It causes huge frustrationand means that many, if not most, companion animals globally do not receiveoptimum care. It’s a situation which requires urgent change and, working inpartnership with our colleagues across the veterinary sector, we are focusedon bringing this about.

“While a number of issues impact the supply of veterinary medicines,duplication of the regulatory medicines approval process in various regions ofthe world is one of the biggest and the focus of our Joint Position Statementon Regulatory Convergence. The WSAVA Therapeutics Guidelines Group has beenworking hard on the issue of access to and availability of veterinarymedicines and will shortly be announcing the first of a set of practical toolsto support veterinarians and their associations to lobby their own governmentsand regulatory bodies.

“To support them, we, as a global veterinary community, will continue todemand change at a global level and our Position Statements are provingeffective in increasing understanding and prompting action.”

He added: “We thank our colleagues in other veterinary associations forstanding with us and we will continue to collaborate closely to ensure thatall veterinarians have access to the drugs they need to treat their patients.”

The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 113member associations and works to enhance standards of clinical care forcompanion animals. Its core activities include the development of WSAVA GlobalGuidelines in key areas of veterinary practice and lobbying on importantissues affecting companion animal care worldwide.

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