The APVMA relocation to Armidale now seems inevitable. Up to 90% of the staff will not relocate and it won’t be as simple as replacing them with willing Armidale locals. Most jobs at the APVMA are highly specialised and a fully functioning team needs a good portion of old hands to pass on their wisdom. Unfortunately many of the experienced team members have already left and it is hard to see how any remaining could be convinced to stay.
What happens without the specialists?
Specialists have been leaving from all areas. A good example is the residues team. They are now down to four out of a team of eight. APVMA assessment of submissions is already running behind in many areas. It is now inevitable this will get worse. How can the APVMA attract new team members in this crazy time of turmoil?
New chemistry may bypass Australia
Difficulties with the Australian regulatory system have already left the biggest industry players questioning whether they should bother bringing their chemistry to Australia. As even greater delays are now unavoidable it will take even longer to recoup the costs of R&D. If this means the big companies no longer offer their new technology to Australia the farmer will suffer. Without new chemistry the options can be largely generic. This means greater chance of resistance. The opportunity to utilise newer, often softer chemistry is also disappointing for the environment.
Regulatory is a niche science
The APVMA can’t just pull scientists from other jobs. Regulatory science is specialised. It is not a discipline usually taught in the education system. Anyone in regulatory affairs tends to learn on the job over many years. Apart from residues, the APVMA needs a full complement of scientists who can work in chemistry, toxicology, work health and safety, environment and efficacy.
In a strange twist, the APVMA had been working with the University of New England in Armidale to develop a course to train regulatory scientists. Perhaps someone had had a premonition. However, unfortunately the horse has already bolted and it will take a long time to catch up.
Please talk to us at Checkbox 3D if you need a regulatory affairs consultant to manage your product registration.