Vets call for legalizing human drugs for animals
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Over fifty veterinarians are appealing for amendments to legalize the use of human medicine on animals, stating that they cannot conduct treatments under current conditions, a local newspaper reported yesterday.
January 8, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
The lives of over 2 million house pets in Taiwan may be in danger, as current laws prohibit the use of human medicine for the treatment of animals, a group of veterinarians was quoted by the Apple Daily as saying.
The veterinarians' appeal follow an incident a month ago when a local company was fined after it was found to be supplying human medicine for veterinarian usage.
The company, Tai Yu Chemical & Pharmaceutical (台裕化製藥), was found to be supplying Thioctan (久克坦), a medicine intended for humans in the treatment of liver disease to veterinarians. The company is facing fines and has been ordered to cease supplying medicines to veterinarians by the Hsinchu County Public Health Bureau (新竹縣衛生署), citing violation of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act (藥事法).
“If laws are not amended to give veterinarian clinics access to legal medicine, there will be no treatments available for sick animals,” said Chen Zhi-feng (陳志峰), director of Taiwan Veterinarian Clinician Association (台灣臨床獸醫師協會).
Chen stated that due to the small size of Taiwan's market and lengthy regulatory approval process, few pharmaceutical companies are willing to produce veterinarian medicines. Chen added that currently treatments for pets suffering from canine babesia and heart disease rely on nonconventional importing or the use of human medicines.
In response, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (農委會防檢局) deputy director Huang Guo-ching (黃國青) stated that his department did not explicitly prohibit the use of human medicine for veterinarian purposes, and pledged to further coordinate the issue with the Public Health Bureau.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (衛生署食品藥物管理局) chief Wang Shu-fen (王淑芬) responded that it is the responsibility of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health to first conduct safety assessments before the Department of Health (衛生局) can begin the process to amend the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act and allow veterinarian clinics to treat animals with human medicine.