DAMASCUS, SYRIA — World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.) members agreed to a regional approach to harmonize and improve the registration, distribution and quality control of veterinary drugs at the O.I.E. Conference on Veterinary Medicinal Products in the Middle East recently held in Damascus, Syria.

O.I.E. members committed to take actions at all stages of the development, production and marketing of veterinary medicinal products in recognition that misuse of veterinary medicinal products, whether intentional or unintentional, represents a risk for animal and public health.

Access to good quality veterinary medicinal products for all livestock producers in the Middle East is crucial, in particular to small farmers whose livelihoods depend on their animals. "Bacteria, parasites and viruses are a constant threat to animal production, they are obstacles to access to regional and international markets for animals and animal products from the Middle-East and critical factors in exacerbating poverty," said Dr. Bernard Vallat, O.I.E. director general.

The conference recommended, at a regional level, the bulk of efforts be put on capacity of laboratories in terms of management systems of veterinary drugs testing methods in laboratories. Networking and training among laboratories and national authorities responsible for the registration and quality control of veterinary drugs will be addressed, in part, through the O.I.E. A Twinning Initiative, which provides for direct exchanges of scientists from twinned laboratories between O.I.E. member countries. Member countries in the Middle-East region also recommended creating a common regional procedure for the registration of veterinary medicinal products.

O.I.E. member countries decided at a national level to enhance good veterinary governance, harmonize legislation and come into line with O.I.E. quality standards for the Veterinary Services, using the O.I.E. P.V.S. tool. They will do so due to designated focal points trained by the O.I.E. direct contacts to the organization responsible for creating a network of experts within the country to:

  • Establish a dialogue, cooperation and communication with competent authorities.
  • Monitor legislation on and control of veterinary products to ensure they are aligned with O.I.E. international standards, guidelines and recommendations.

Efforts extend to the control of residues from veterinary drugs in food products of animal origin, in agreement with standards developed by the Codex Alimentarius.

Approximately 160 participants from different countries of the region represented by their chief veterinary officers and national focal points responsible for controlling veterinary medicinal products attended the conference. Other participants included representatives of regional and sub-regional organizations in the Middle East, funding agencies, major global and regional producers of veterinary medicinal products and non-governmental organizations involved in developing sustainable livestock production in Middle East.

The government of Syria hosted the conference. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Veterinary Services of Syria organized the event with the support of the O.I.E. headquarters and the O.I.E. regional Representation for the Middle-East.