De Briyne Nancy

Coordinatrice FishMedPlus Coalition e deputy Executive Director Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE)

13th February


Speech: Fish need medicines too

Very few veterinary medicines are authorised in Europe for aquatic animals. This lack of availability of, and limited access to, authorized veterinary medicines for many aquaculture species directly interferes with their health and welfare. Growth of the aquaculture sector in the EU is seriously impacted by disease outbreaks, for which authorised veterinary medicines including vaccines are lacking.

Compared with the terrestrial animal health industry, developing veterinary medicines for aquaculture is very demanding (mostly due to the environmental aspect) and the return on investment is often too low to stimulate investments. Therefore, veterinarians have to rely on the off-label use of veterinary medicines licensed in other countries or for other animals.

To address this problem, in December 2015 the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) set up the FishMedPlus Coalition to promote the greater availability of authorized veterinary medicinal products for aquaculture on the market of European Union and EFTA countries. The Coalition is composed of many organisations and institutions active in the aquaculture sector, including the aquatic industry (FEAP), pharmaceutical industry (Animal Health Europe), research institutions and legislators. As a first step, the Coalition mapped the fish diseases and indications for which no efficient medicines are available to treat them and for which urgently medicines or vaccines are needed.

The main priority diseases/indications were:

Secondly, the Coalition looked at ways how availability can be improved such as via authorization of new medicines or vaccines through stimulating the animal health industry to invest more in aquaculture or via extending the marketing authorization of already authorized products between countries or to other species.

In January 2019, a revised Regulation on veterinary medicines and medicated feed was published in the European Union. These new rules will come into force in January 2022. The new rules will provide some incentives for industry to more easily develop and authorise new medicines for aquatic species. Live autologous vaccines, which are currently only regulated on country level, will also become inside the scope of the Regulation. Inactivated autologous vaccines partly. The way of using medicines for fish which are not specifically authorised for fish (e.g. products authorised for farm animals) will also change. The new rules on medicated feed will allow feed mills to produce in advance medicated feed for fish with off label veterinary medicines, making it more feasible to produce these products. On the same time, rules regarding using antimicrobials and environmental rules will become stricter.

Curriculum Vitae