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Message from the Secretary General and President

As newly appointed President in July 2016 and a first full year as Secretary General we have had a very full agenda this year as animal health issues were in the spotlight both in the global arena but also on a European level. With the EU legislation governing our products currently undergoing revision and the emergence of new diseases for Europe, 2016 has been a challenging yet rewarding year. In this annual report, we provide an overview of a few key highlights from the past year.

Facilitating an exchange of information
Working with the European institutions, the ministries and the regulatory authorities has been very rewarding this year, as the exchanges of dialogue have been forthcoming as well as beneficial to all parties. Increasing exchanges with our stakeholders have also led to enhanced partnerships and collaboration on key issues such as sustainable food production, One Health and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

IFAH-Europe is keen to keep up this cooperative approach and very much looks forward to participating in the One Health Network to be established under the Commission’s new action plan on AMR as well as the new EU animal welfare platform. We also look forward to continued collaboration with the European Medicines Agency and the European Food Safety Authority where we are again a registered stakeholder.

Monitoring the legislative review
We have been eagerly following the legislations on veterinary medicines and medicated feed continue slowly but steadfastly through first reading, and we very much hope for renewed impetus in 2017 to keep the review on target in terms of key objectives leading to the adoption of a future-proof set of rules. As we see diseases, such as lumpy skin disease or African swine fever, affecting animals and our farming sector, rarely or never before reported in Europe, it is clear that a simplified yet robust regulatory framework adapted to the needs and specificities of the animal health sector in Europe is of great importance.

An active secretariat
Our secretariat has been diligently working throughout 2016 promoting the benefits of veterinary medicines to society and finding out what European citizens know about our products. We have also been very actively monitoring and responding to issues impacting the veterinary medicines sector and remain dedicated to enhancing our activities and implementing new strategies in key areas such as research and innovation, the environment and sustainability, and animal welfare, to name but a few.

A year for celebration
In 2017, we will celebrate 30 years of existence as a Brussels-based trade association and have a few surprises up our sleeve for the third quarter. Watch this space!

We will remain committed to showing just how much animal health matters and forge ahead with our vision to increase the availability of medicines to better manage, treat and prevent animal disease in Europe.

Roxane Feller, Secretary General

Wijnand de Bruijn, President

IFAH-Europe is the federation representing manufacturers of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products in Europe.
For more information please see our website.

Facts & figures

IFAH-Europe member companies invest on average

8% of turnover
in research and development every year

Our industry provides around

50,000 full time jobs in Europe

Total European sales amounted to over

€5.5 billion


Learn more

Antimicrobial resistance:
Focusing on facts to provide achievable solutions

This past year, in fact for several years, there has been a lot of opinion voiced on AMR and a fair amount of science. However a connection between the two has often been absent, leading to a great deal of misinformation around the development of AMR and the potentially catastrophic health implications for both man and animal.

The animal health industry believes that this disconnect has slowed our progress towards truly defining concrete actions that can be put in place to slow the tide of resistance development. This is, after all what we are trying to achieve if we look at the facts of the issue.

The science shows that long before antibiotics were used in medicine, antibiotic-resistant bacteria existed. Strains of bacteria with the ability to inactivate modern antibiotics were discovered in silt deposits dating back 30,000 years, so this phenomenon is neither new, nor is its origin necessarily a product of human activity. Indeed, Alexander Fleming the pioneer of penicillin rang the warning bell during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1945, saying that, “…the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.”

Discarding misinformation

The biggest danger of purporting misinformation is that we might delay an appropriate scientific response while wasting time pointing fingers at the different sectors as being the perpetrator of the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. For example, suggestions that agricultural production is a major contributor to AMR development in people goes against evidence from the European Medicines Agency indicating that antibiotic use in people is the primary cause of human bacterial resistance development.

Common sense dictates that a cow, many times the size and weight of a person, will require and absorb treatment different to a man, and yet claims using such comparisons are continuously referenced in reports and articles. These are meaningless and they could lead to the very real risk that using antibiotics to treat sick animals, an absolutely essential veterinary tool for disease management, is prohibited because of persistent misperceptions

We know we cannot overturn AMR completely but we can try to safeguard the antibiotics we have currently through effective training and communication, with the engagement of not only the veterinary and human medical profession and scientists, but also governments, policy-makers, the media, and the wider society

Investing in solutions

Resources are being invested in examining the challenges and presenting potential solutions to this crisis and financial and regulatory incentives are being provided to address the lack of new antibiotics in the pipeline for human health - but much more needs to be done on the veterinary side. Strong political leadership is needed to improve the regulatory environment and ensure a predictable market for increased investment in innovation for animal health.

The European Commission and many other international bodies have made AMR a priority and the veterinary medicines sector is keen to play a lead role in ensuring that the solutions we provide, such as new antibiotics, rapid diagnostics and preventive vaccines, to better manage animal health continue to be available for vets, farmers and animal owners across Europe. Our goal is to ensure that the resistance issue is tackled as it truly exists.

The animal health industry fully subscribes to the One Health approach to tackle the global threat of AMR. A multi-sectoral and holistic approach is necessary to successfully maintain and protect public and animal health. Moreover, the threat of increasing resistance development necessitates an internationally coordinated response, in which we believe the European Union can play a leading role.

Year at a glance 2016

  • New EU law highlights important link between animal and human health

    8 March
    After roughly three years of negotiations between policy-makers the new EU Regulation on Transmissible Animal Diseases (Animal Health Law) puts in place a single overarching legal framework of standards for animal and public health in the EU, a welcome step towards better animal disease prevention and preparedness. Read more

  • European Parliament votes on Proposal for Regulation on Veterinary Medicines

    10 March
    Ensuring the availability of a varied arsenal of veterinary medicines for the prevention and treatment of animal disease was the much-welcomed signal sent by the European Parliament and its Environment Committee during their review of the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on Veterinary Medicinal Products. Read more

  • Harmonisation of rules to administer medicines through animal feed adopted

    15 March
    Amendments to the proposal for a Regulation on Medicated Feed aiming to fulfil a much called-for desire to harmonise the placing of feed on the market and optimising this administration route for medicines to treat sick animals across Europe, were adopted by Members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee. Read more

  • EMA/IFAH-Europe Info-day

    17 - 18 March
    Another successful info day was held at the EMA headquarters in London, with around 150 participants from industry and the authorities discussing current developments in the regulatory scene. Read more

  • World Animal Vaccination Day

    20 April
    Ahead of European Immunisation Week (24–30 April) IFAH-Europe promoted the first ever World Animal Vaccination Day, an initiative of the global animal medicines association HealthforAnimals and the World Veterinary Association. Read more

  • AFCC backs technological solutions for sustainable agriculture

    31 May
    MEP Anthea McIntyre (pictured with some AFCC members) was keynote speaker at a dinner debate hosted by the Agri-Food Chain Coalition where the 11 partner associations, including IFAH-Europe, endorsed the European Parliament report on “Technological solutions for sustainable agriculture”. Read more

  • Animal health matters: Will the legislation deliver?

    16 June
    IFAH-Europe’s annual conference in Brussels with keynote speaker Commissioner Andriukaitis (pictured with IFAH-Europe officers) saw industry calling on EU regulators to deliver future-proof rules on animal medicine that will foster innovation and increase the availability of veterinary medicines to protect the health of all animals across Europe.
    Read more

  • Record participation in the 7th VICH Outreach Forum

    20-23 June
    The 7th VICH Outreach Forum hosted by IFAH-Europe in Brussels was attended by more than 20 delegates from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East in addition to the 7 VICH member countries showing increasing interest in harmonising requirements for registering veterinary medicines. Read more

  • Europe report: Benchmarking the Competitiveness of the Global Animal Health Industry

    28 June
    Twenty years on from the first benchmarking survey the industry reports an urgent need for forward-looking EU regulation to boost innovation for animal health and welfare. Read more

  • New President for IFAH-Europe

    1 July
    Following the retirement of past president, Christian Behm, Dopharma’s Wijnand de Bruijn takes over the reins at IFAH-Europe. Read more

  • First-ever survey on attitudes to veterinary medicines

    12 September
    A new survey commissioned by IFAH-Europe across 6 European countries canvassed the perceptions and attitudes of EU citizens towards veterinary medicines. Findings, some of which were presented in an infographic, showed very limited knowledge and highlighted the importance of increasing awareness of the benefits of veterinary medicines. Read more

  • 10th annual World Rabies Day held in Brussels

    28 September
    IFAH-Europe joined forces with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control CEO Professor Louis Nel and DG Sante’s Deputy Director General Ladislav Miko (pictured with IFAH-Europe Secretary General & President) to raise awareness on the need for continued rabies vaccination obligations in the EU and support for global eradication projects. The event was dedicated to the memory of veterinary scientist Paul-Pierre Pastoret, a pioneer in controlling rabies in wildlife Read more

  • TOPRA Veterinary Symposium

    28 September
    IFAH-Europe chaired a session on updates on the new veterinary medicines legislation with a progress report given by Stefano Soro from the European Commission’s DG SANTE. Read more

  • Declaration on the responsible use of medicines in animals

    13 October
    During a workshop hosted by EPRUMA and the Slovak Presidency of the EU entitled 'Creating a common understanding on the responsible use of veterinary medicines', partners of EPRUMA, including IFAH-Europe, co-signed a declaration outlining 7 commitments to responsible use of medicines in animals. Read more

  • Healthy animals: Key to sustainable food production

    16 October
    A new infographic and paper highlighting the key role of healthy animals for sustainable food production were published for World Food Day to illustrate the benefits of animal medicines. Read more

  • One Health Day

    3 November
    Throughout the year at global events such as the G7 summit in Japan and the UN high-level meeting on AMR, as well as on the inaugural One Health Day, IFAH-Europe gave its full support to the international call to take a collaborative approach to dealing with AMR. Read more

  • Closing knowledge gaps on European Antibiotics Awareness Day

    18 November
    A new animated video to illustrate the importance of safeguarding antibiotics for animal health and welfare for the future was launched ahead of European Antibiotic Awareness Day. Read more

  • STAR-IDAZ International Research Consortium on Animal Health

    18 November
    The Scientific Secretariat for the International Research Consortium (IRC) on Animal Health kicked off its work to help deliver measurable advances in the control of animal diseases through the alignment of both public and privately funded animal health research around the world. Read more

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