Archive for November, 2011

RUMA Business / Marketing Plan 2011/12

Introduction

    1. RUMA is an alliance of animal health industry groups (see annex A for current membership and RUMA officers) with the aim of promoting a co- ordinated and integrated approach to best practice in the use of medicines.

How

    1. RUMA operates by providing best practice advice on the use of medicine to farmers and veterinary surgeons by publishing guidelines aimed at each of these groups and providing advice/comment on specific issues on its website ruma.org.uk.

RUMA’s existing commitments

    1. It is important for RUMA to maintain a high profile amongst farmers and vets so that they can avail themselves of the advice on best practice use of medicines. This will continue to be done by
      • keeping the RUMA website up to date and modernising its performance.
      • updating and publishing the various guidelines by using internal RUMA expertise and good will where at all possible to reduce costs.
      • auditing the effect of the guidelines as far as that is possible.
      • populating the website with position statements, factsheets and all the sort of information users would expect of an organisation speaking for the industry.
      • members regularly referring to the work of RUMA where appropriate.
      • helping to educate veterinary surgeons, farmers and others involved in the responsible use of medicines.
      • RUMA’s officers attending meetings and writing articles to publicise RUMA’s work.

Future work programme

    1. The European Commission plans to announce proposals to amend the EU’s veterinary medicines legislation in 2012. Their key aims are to improve the availability of veterinary medicines and reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance. RUMA has been working for more than 10 years to ensure the responsible use of antimicrobials and reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance and so fully supports the Commission’s aims. So, in addition to the routine work set out above, RUMA will need to take on extra work to seek to influence and prepare for the Commission’s announcement and to help the UK negotiators in their response to it. RUMA will
      • closely monitor EU discussions, proposals etc in relation to the antimicrobial issue.
      • work with EPRUMA to influence the Commission’s developing proposals.
      • brief/meet MEPs.
      • keep RUMA members up to date on developments via email and on the website.
      • possibly call special meetings of the Board/AMR group to assess action.
      • organise RUMA press briefings or participate in RUMA members’ press briefings.
      • meet with member organisations e.g. attendance at their conferences to let them know what RUMA is doing. These meetings would be more specific to the organisation in question than the general email/website circulation and would enable interaction with a wider group than those who attend RUMA meetings.
      • access specialist external veterinary/public health advice.

Budget

  1. RUMA is financed through fees paid by its members. These normally generate an annual income of some £16,000 which is used to meet the costs of drafting and issuing the guidelines, maintaining the website, holding meetings and general administration by the Secretary General.
  2. The additional costs of the extra work outlined above are estimated to be a total of £16,000 for
    • three visits (6 nights stay) to Brussels to meet EPRUMA and/or Commission officials and to attend any relevant conferences – £2,500.
    • briefing/meeting MEPs may be partly achieved under the first bullet but an allowance of £1,000 is needed to cover additional trips.
    • keep RUMA members up to date on developments via email and on the website. This is part of RUMA’s routine work and would be met from the normal annual income.
    • possibly call special meetings of the Board/AMR group to assess action – room hire/refreshments – up to £1,000.
    • organise or participate in RUMA members’ press briefings. This is part of RUMA’s routine work and would be met from the normal annual income.
    • arrange meetings with member organisations as necessary to let them know what RUMA is doing. These meetings would be more specific to the organisation in question than the general email/website circulation – £1,000 for travel, overnight stays.
    • access to specialist external veterinary/public health advice – £2,500. additional secretariat support preparing papers, liaising with UK and EU officials, EPRUMA and other advisers, arranging meetings etc – £8,000.
  3. The additional income is likely to be required for 2012/13 and RUMA will seek this from external sources e.g. Defra, the Commission etc. Alternatively, the additional funding could be achieved by doubling members’ fees for that year. The RUMA Board would be required to assess the need for additional income in subsequent years taking into account the proposals eventually made by the Commission and the need for RUMA to seek any changes to them.

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RUMA comment on the report: Case Study of a Health Crisis

RUMA believes the report Case Study of a Health Crisis by a coalition comprising Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association and Sustain misses a great opportunity to help highlight the importance of both medical and veterinary practitioners working together to help preserve the efficacy of antimicrobials for both human and animal health.

RUMA acknowledges the increased risk of antimicrobial resistance developing from the irresponsible use of antibiotics in human and animal medicine and believes that antibiotics should be used as little as often and as much as necessary. It already produces guidelines for farmers and vets on the responsible use of antibiotics on farms.

The RUMA guidelines stress that antibiotics should not be used as a substitute for good husbandry practices whatever the farming system.

RUMA believes that these guidelines have helped to minimise the levels of antibiotic resistance found in the UK and hopes other countries will adopt similar guidelines for their farmers and vets.

The medical profession too needs to play its part and, for example, learn to resist demands from patients for treatments they know have little or no effect on coughs and colds.

Research commissioned by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and published on 18 November 2011, showed 97% of patients said their GP or nurse put them on a course of antibiotics the last time they asked for a prescription.

Some 20% of adults consulted for the study said they made an appointment to see their doctor for a recent respiratory tract infection, such as a sore throat or flu. Of these, 53% expected to be prescribed antibiotics and 25% said they believed antibiotics worked on most coughs and colds.

The study also found that one in 10 people admitted to keeping leftover antibiotics – a habit which can exacerbate the developing resistance to the drug if individuals decide to treat themselves at a later stage.

While it is possible for resistant bacteria to transfer from humans to animals and animals to humans, examples of this are quite rare despite extensive research in this area. Even rarer are examples which have led to any clinical issues in human medicine.

A full armoury of antibiotics needs to remain available for vets to treat animals to ensure the food produced by the UK’s livestock farmers is as safe as possible – safe food comes from healthy animals and antibiotics are essential to treat bacterial infection in Britain’s farm animals and pets, as they are for people.

RUMA agrees with the coalition’s report that farmers, retailers, consumers, doctors and regulators all need to play our part in ensuring antimicrobials must be used responsibly – that is what the RUMA message is all about.

Notes for editors

  1. For further information contact RUMA secretary John FitzGerald on 01747 860867 or see the RUMA website www.ruma.org.uk
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