Manufacturers, importers, distributors and dispensers of veterinary medical products in the country will now be regulated by a new body.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has taken over the regulatory mandate in the manufacture, importation, exportation, registration, distribution, prescription and dispensing of veterinary medical products and poisons.
It has been officially launched. The role was previously under the ambit of the Ministry of Health’s Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) which also regulates trade in human medicines.
Vet medical products form a sizeable fraction of the multi-billion shilling pharmaceutical sector in Kenya. The vet medical products to be regulated by the new body include medicines, vaccines, medical devices, herbal medicines pesticides among others.
It will also control public advertisements of vet medical products to protect the public from misleading advertisers’ claims.
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A court petition filed by an association of pharmaceutical distributors on 26th October 2016 to block the transfer of regulatory function from PPB to VMD was dismissed in a court ruling of 29th of September, 2017, paving the way for the launch of the body.
Substandard vet medicine
It is not clear if the pharmaceutical distributors have let go of the matter. Livestock Department Principal Secretary Dr Andrew Tuimur said the new body will help address the proliferation of substandard veterinary medicines and curb misuse of genuine ones.
“The case for better regulation of veterinary medicinal products and other animal health inputs has been reinforced by the visible deterioration in the regulatory framework in the sub-sector and the increased worldwide public health threat posed by antimicrobial resistance,” he said. ”Efficient livestock production and animal welfare can only be enhanced with proper regulation of veterinary medicinal products and other animal health inputs. The VMD offers this opportunity.”
Dr Tuimur said separation in the regulation of veterinary pharmaceutical products and human medicines is in line with best practice, including the National Livestock Policy of 2008 and World Organization for Animal Health guidelines.
The regulations establishing the new regulatory body were mooted in 2015 but its operationalisation was delayed.