31 March 2016 |EMA reveals tactics for increasing availability of veterinary vaccines

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has begun to implement its action plan to improve the availability of veterinary vaccines.

The EMA’s Dr Faye Ioannou said the agency aims to collaborate with Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA) to “bring together activities from several different initiatives into a single coherent plan to ensure the resources of the network as a whole are used to best effect”.

The action plan was the result of a joint EMA/HMA workshop in 2015, which enabled regulators to ask industry experts their opinions regarding the availability of veterinary vaccines. The workshop concluded that the lack of veterinary vaccines is a major issue, especially in the case of products for limited markets and for emergency situations.

The EMA/HMA strategy will integrate appropriate elements of its action plan into the EMA’s network strategy to 2020 and set up a steering group to oversee and monitor progress against the action plan with potential observers from industry and the European Commission.

The strategy also plans to explore possibilities for public-private collaboration under the Horizon 2020 initiative, develop guidance on standards for the manufacture of autogenous vaccines and identify training opportunities with the EU Network Training Centre.

Dr Ioannou said the action plan will also establish a webpage to promote communication on the veterinary vaccine availability scheme, as well as create a group of members from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use to identify, prioritize and make public plans for veterinary vaccines availability.

The EMA and HMA are aiming to provide support to the development of new vaccines and associated technologies through existing mechanisms such as its Innovation Task Force.

Dr Ioannou said the strategy will also publish a finalized review of minor uses/minor species guidelines for immunological products, reflect on existing measures to promote vaccines for epizootic diseases and establish ways to take into account the different types of vaccines as part of guidance on the risk-benefit assessment of veterinary medicines.

Finally, the EMA and HMA hope to input technical considerations on requirements for vaccines into the process for review of the legal framework for veterinary medicines.

Dr Ioannou was speaking at the annual EMA/IFAH-Europe Info Day in London.