MP for North Antrim Ian Paisley Jr. has called on the UK government to publish the list of veterinary medicines that may no longer be available to Northern Ireland from 2025.

The Windsor Framework enables, via a grace period, veterinary medicines authorised or approved in the UK or which are moved via Great Britain to continue to be placed on the market in Northern Ireland until the end of 2025.

The aim of this grace period is not only to safeguard supplies, but to provide time to establish a long-term solution for Northern Ireland post-Brexit for an uninterrupted flow of veterinary medicines into Northern Ireland from Great Britain – as is the case now.

Which medicines?

In the House of Commons today (Wednesday, May 24), Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) politician Ian Paisley Jr. called on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to publish the list of “1,700 veterinary medicines that will no longer be made available to Northern Irish vets and the agri-food sector after the grace period has ended”.

He also asked him to provide an explanation to the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) as to why it has not been published already, and to meet with him and the UFU to “go through that list and show us how this has removed the border in the Irish Sea”.

Sunak responded: “When we concluded the Windsor Framework, what we did was make sure that there was an extension in the grace period for vet medicines to give us the time to find a long-run solution to that particular issue.”

He told Paisley to “take heart” because “on the issue of human medicines…what we did achieve was complete and full dual regulation of medicines and a dialogue with the EU to resolve the issues with veterinary medicines”.

Sunak said he knew this issue was also important to Paisley and the DUP, and promised to “work closely” with both him and the UFU to “find a resolution in the time we have” for veterinary medicines.

“But I know he will also join me in being very happy that we’ve protected access to human medicines in Northern Ireland which was a priority for him and his party,” he added.

‘Simplified’ rules

Earlier this month, members of the EU Parliament agreed on three draft laws to implement the Windsor Framework, one of which related to accessibility of human medicinal products.

The new arrangement will ensure that all human medicines (generic and novel) will now be permanently available at the same time under the same conditions across the UK in accordance with UK rules and UK authorisation.

This arrangement was adopted with 617 votes in favour to three against and six abstentions.

Another draft law related to making it easier for agri-food products from Britain to enter Northern Ireland.

According to the EU Parliament, these “new and simplified rules and procedures” will impact certain agri-food retail goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain where the goods are destined for final consumption in Northern Ireland.

The parliament said food, seed potatoes, plants for planting and agricultural machinery are to benefit from the loosening of regulations. It was adopted with 619 votes in favour to two against and six abstentions.

The third law related to certain steel products that are subject to tariff rate quotas brought from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. Under the new arrangement, they will no longer be subject to the 25% tariff linked to EU safeguard measures.

This is to “ensure these transfers are economically viable”, the parliament said. This new legislation was adopted with 617 votes in favour to two against and three abstentions.

The EU parliament said these new arrangements will ensure that Northern Ireland will continue to benefit from its unique access to the EU Single Market for goods.

“Safeguards are in place to ensure that such goods stay in Northern Ireland and are not exported to the EU,” it said.