Pharmacists have opposed a government proposal to create an authority separate from National Drug Authority to regulate veterinary medicine.
Some veterinary experts said National Drug Authority (NDA) dedicates most of its resources to regulating human medicine at the expense of regulating veterinary drugs.
Addressing the media over the weekend, Dr. Samuel Opio, the Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda said a new separate authority could lead to duplication and double standards in the sector.
Last week the proposed Veterinary Drugs and Feeds Bill was warmly received by the experts and farmers following its approval by the cabinet.
Among other things, the bill seeks to address the management and regulation of the veterinary products in the country.
However, Dr. Opio expressed his reservation on the creation of the new regulatory body noting that it would cause more problems.
“When you look at the nature of human and veterinary medicine, they overlap for example rabies vaccine. They are given to both human and animals so with two separate regulatory agencies who is going to regulate it? Who is to License it? Who is going to import it ? What if one rejects the application?”he asked.
He explained that the pharmacists have both human and veterinary medicines so when two regulatory agencies come to one facility everything will be frustrated.
Dr. Opio said poor regulation of antibiotic drugs used for animals can lead to the rise of antibiotic resistance in human beings who consume animal products.
“Majority of antibiotics used for animals are used specifically for prevention of disease and also promotion of growth but antibiotics used among the patients of the human are for treatment of diseases. Now where there is poor regulation in one authority and better regulation on the other, there is a very big risk that any resistance from the animal side can be transferred to the human side,”he said.
He said such can escalate the issue of antimicrobial resistance and yet the sector is already in a bad situation so creating veterinary authority might worsen the situation of a life threatening condition.
The pharmacists are now seeking audience from the line ministries and the head of state for a discussion before the proposed bill is passed.
“Challenges in the veterinary sector are not product related, they are practice related. There is need for the government to be able to see how we can strengthen veterinary medical services access. This requires setting up of veterinary health facilities at every sub county level,”he said.