AHI has a strong international presence as a member of the International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH).
The International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) is the global representative body of companies engaged in research, development, manufacturing and commercialization of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products in both developed and developing countries across the globe. IFAH represents both global animal health companies and animal health associations worldwide.
Additionally, the following international organizations play a significant role in developing guidelines and standards for the international regulation of animal medicines:
- The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) was established in 1963 under the auspices of two United Nations organizations – the Food and Agricultural Organization, based in Rome, and the World Health Organization (WHO), based in Geneva. The primary mandate of the CAC is protecting the health of consumers and ensuring fair practices in the food trade. More than 170 countries, as well as numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs), participate in Codex activities. NGOs must have an international presence; therefore, the International Federation of Animal Health represents the animal health industry in Codex. AHI participates in Codex activities as a member of IFAH.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization jointly administers the Codex program along with the World Health Organization. The Codex Executive Secretary and staff are administratively and physically located in FAO’s offices in Rome. The FAO contributes approximately 80 percent of the operating budget of Codex, and also provides one of the two Secretariat positions on the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives.
- The Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) provides the independent, scientific advice to Codex members and subsidiary bodies. JECFA is actually older than Codex, and initially provided advice to the FAO and the WHO on the safety of food additives. The role of JECFA has expanded from food additives to now include contaminants, flavorings and veterinary drugs. The FAO and the WHO choose the members of the JECFA on the basis of the expertise required. The members of the JECFA are selected for each meeting based on expertise and geographical representation; the committee is dissolved after each meeting.
- The World Organisation for Animal Health/Office International des Epizooties (OIE) was established in 1924, and serves as the intergovernmental organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide. OIE is also recognized as a reference organization by the World Trade Organization, and has a total of 178 member countries and territories.
- The World Health Organization is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends.
- The World Trade Organization (WTO) administers the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreements. Member governments of the WTO have recourse to WTO dispute settlement procedures in order to resolve trade issues arising from these agreements. The SPS and TBT Agreements specifically direct member governments to utilize Codex standards and texts in making decisions under these agreements. One of the first disputes involving the SPS Agreement – the beef hormone dispute between the U.S. and the EU – involved residues of veterinary drugs. This case is still being arbitrated by the WTO.
- The International Cooperation on Harmonization of Technical Requirement for Registration of Veterinary Products (VICH) started in 1995. The purpose of VICH is to coordinate veterinary medicine registration in three regions: the EU, Japan and the U.S. Australian/New Zealand and Canada are observer nations. One of the primary benefits of VICH is the assurance it provides an animal health company that a study conforming to the requirements in one of the three regions will be acceptable in the other regions. VICH is governed by a steering committee that consists of both industry and government representatives from the three regions, as well as the observer countries. The steering committee implements VICH goals through the establishment of expert working groups. In the short time since its formation, the VICH has developed over 40 guidelines that are accepted by the regions and the observers. The OIE is an active member of the steering committee, and encourages all its members to adopt VICH guidelines when appropriate.