Impact of EU law changes on Northern Ireland: Latest European Scrutiny Committee analysis
25 July 2022
Analysis of the impact of new EU laws on the UK by the European Scrutiny Committee includes the impact of EU rule changes in veterinary medicines, human medicines and fertilisers on Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
More than half of the veterinary medicines in NI could be in danger of becoming unavailable when the grace period for veterinary medicines ends in December if the Northern Ireland Protocol is strictly applied. The Government are challenging whether NI has to follow EU rules for such drugs under the Protocol. The Committee have called the EU’s readiness to amend rules on human medicines but not for animal medicines ‘frustrating’ and backed the Government’s search for a ‘more sustainable solution’.
New EU rules governing fertilisers came into effect on 16 July and have to be applied to NI under the Protocol, causing a divergence between British regulations and those in Northern Ireland. The Committee is seeking clarity from the Government over why it thinks movements of fertilisers from Britain to Northern Ireland will not face increased friction as a result and stresses the need for engagement with the devolved governments since this is a devolved matter.
Supply of medicines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland
The Government highlights in a reply to the Committee two concerns over the easements for medicine movements between GB and NI tabled by the EU following industry engagement.
These are that new medicines approved in the GB would still need EU-authorised packaging to be sent to NI and the continued application of the Falsified Medicines Directive. To address this, the Government is using the NI MHRA Authorised Route so NI patients can continue to have access to prescription drugs available in GB.