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Gov't to allow more medicines for animal use

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Department of Health (DOH) will negotiate within one week to determine the categories of medicines designed for humans that can be given to animals, COA officials said yesterday

The move comes as the government searches for a possible solution to the severe shortage of medicines for animals at veterinary clinics.

Officials at the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the COA made the remarks in response to calls from opposition lawmakers and the Taiwan Veterinary Medical Association for relaxing restrictions on the sale of human medicines to the clinics.

At a press conference, bureau Chairman Yang Ching-yu said that there are around 2 million dogs and cats around the island, but permitted pharmaceutical products that can legally be given to animals account for only 20 percent of total pharmaceuticals.

What's worse is that the existing Pharmaceutical Affairs Act prohibits pharmaceutical suppliers from selling nonanimal-use medicines and equipment to veterinary clinics, such as antibiotics and intravenous drips. As a result, veterinary hospitals are plagued by a serious shortage of pharmaceuticals for pet dogs and cats.

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