Current post-Brexit arrangements to ensure the continued availability of veterinary medicines in Northern Ireland are to be extended.
A “grace period” had been due to expire at the end of this year.
A group of MPs had warned this would mean a risk of shortages in veterinary drugs, including vaccines and anaesthetics for operations.
However, on Monday the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator confirmed the grace period will be extended to 2025.
Maros Sefcovic said the EU Commission had “taken steps to ensure the continuity of supplies of veterinary medicines to Northern Ireland, but also Cyprus, Ireland and Malta”.
It means businesses will be still able to buy medicines from within the UK.
- What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?
The protocol means Northern Ireland is still inside the EU’s pharmaceutical regulatory system.
However it gets most of its medicines from Great Britain, which is not.
Earlier this year, the EU changed its laws in an effort to help guarantee supplies of medicines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, but that arrangement did not cover veterinary medicines.
Mr Sefcovic said extending the grace period to the end of December 2025 was “a practical solution to a practical problem” and would allow “ample time to adapt”.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the announcement brings greater clarity to the veterinary industry in Northern Ireland.
Source: British Broadcasting Corporation