Publications IFAH and FAO drive veterinary medicine standards to safeguard animals and farmers from counterfeit products

IFAH and FAO drive veterinary medicine standards to safeguard animals and farmers from counterfeit products


Brussels, 1 March 2012 – The International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) are working closely with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to support the setting of internationally accepted pharmaceutical standards or monographs for veterinary medicines used in the prevention and treatment of Animal African Trypanosomosis, a fatal disease that has devastating effects on animal and human health, economic development and food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Through the Programme Against African Trypanosomosis (PAAT) key African institutions like the African Union’s Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC) have been involved in this initiative.

Animal African Trypanosomosis causes three million cattle deaths every year according to FAO estimates. The economic loss in cattle production is estimated at a staggering 4.5 billion USD annually, which is further compounded by decline in crop production due to the impact on work animals necessary for cultivation. Although medicines are available to prevent and treat the disease, safeguarding animal health is threatened by the sale of sub-standard and counterfeit, and potentially detrimental products. According to IFAH estimates the black market trade amounts to approximately 400 million USD every year.

IFAH and the FAO therefore joined forces to develop internationally and scientifically agreed pharmaceutical monographs for trypanocidal products together with protocols for their quality control and quality assurance. These monographs and protocols will be made publically available as an international reference in an annex to an article in the OIE’s peer-reviewed Scientific and Technical Review series in 2012, while awaiting the OIE standard setting process to take into account monographs of veterinary products.

IFAH Executive Director Barbara Freischem stated: “This initiative is vital for preventing not only the disease but the sale of counterfeit products more generally, which aggravates the problem for farmers. A pharmaceutical standard enables governments, pharmacists and not least the animal owner to have the quality of a product checked. With a pharmaceutical standard, any deviation from the necessary quality can be proven through laboratory analysis.”

Regarding the process she noted: “I am particularly pleased to highlight that this project represents a case of exemplary collaboration between the main companies involved in the manufacture of quality trypanocidal products, irrespective of whether they are IFAH members like Merial and Vétoquinol or not, like Ceva Santé Animale and Laprovet.”

In a next step in 2012, made possible through the generous support by the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) within the framework of a major grant from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to combat Animal African Trypanosomosis, two laboratories in sub-Saharan Africa will be selected and trained in the application of the analyses to carry out quality control tests and verification of products against the pharmaceutical standards developed by FAO, IFAH and a group of partner organisations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom.

Notes for editors

The International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) is an organisation representing manufacturers of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products in both developed and developing countries across five continents. The mission of IFAH is to foster a greater understanding of animal health matters and promote a predictable, science-based regulatory environment that facilitates the supply of innovative and quality animal medicines, vaccines and other animal health products into a competitive market place. These products contribute to a healthy and safe food supply as well as a high standard of health and welfare for animals and people.

For further information on IFAH, please visit