Veterinary medicines account for a substantial portion of the production, sale, and consumption of medicines in Europe, and probably world-wide. This calls our attention to the fact that only healthy farm animals can ensure safe and sufficient livestock products to meet the growing demand for animal protein.
Human and veterinary medicine share many common features - expressed and symbolised by the “One Health Concept”. This concept forms the logical basis for the maintenance of healthy livestock by the control of zoonoses and foodborne diseases, the prevention of poor sanitary conditions, and the reduction of microbial and parasitic threats, including resistance to antibiotics and anti-parasitic drugs.
Achieving these aims will require international cooperation and interdisciplinary action. A new initiative of the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences (EUFEPS) – the Network on Veterinary Medicines – has the potential to manage and overcome these challenges. A number of EUFEPS expertise networks have already been established, and some will be instrumental in supporting the activities of the Network on Veterinary Medicines.
New technologies are being introduced to veterinary medicine for the treatment of numerous and frequently species-specific conditions. Scientific input from different areas is required to evaluate the potential benefit risk profiles of these novel products, drug delivery techniques, and medical attention for animals as a whole. Drug treatment of food-producing animals inevitably affects consumer safety and public health, as any administration of medicines to animals may result in the presence of drug residues in edible tissues or products such as milk, eggs, and honey.
The Network on Veterinary Medicines initiative sees itself as broadly positioned. Among its most important goals are contributing to legislative issues in veterinary medicine and to the development of new pharmaceuticals for animal health, including novel drug delivery systems. Efforts to support the academic teaching and training of veterinary professionals and formulators for veterinary drug delivery are also considered imperative objectives of the network.
Major objectives of the new network include the following: strengthening academic research to promote the emergence of new concepts, principles and mechanisms of action to develop innovative new veterinary medicinal products, supporting the education and training of future healthcare professionals in veterinary practice, pharmacy and industrial research, including continuing professional development, and supporting Veterinary Universities.
Further efforts of the Network will encourage the European Commission to initiate calls for research in the area of veterinary medicines, such as Horizon 2020. Once these calls are in place, the formation of strong consortia to apply for funding (IMI, EU-funding) is projected.
Eur J Pharm Sci 91, 25 August 2016, I–VI