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Detailed guide: From 1 January 2021 changes to the cascade explainer

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

December 14
09:13 2020

The cascade for vets in Great Britain

From January 2021, there will be changes to the order of cascade steps vets in GB should follow.

Veterinary medicines authorised in other countries now sit higher up the cascade and are on the same rung as UK authorised human medicines. This means that a veterinary medicine authorised in any country is eligible for import for use under the cascade, after the preferred option of a veterinary medicine authorised in the UK.

GB vets must look to products authorised in the UK in the first instance. If there is a product authorised in NI but not authorised in GB or UK wide, you will need to apply for a Special Import Certificate in order to legally obtain that product for use under the cascade.

The VMDs Product Information Database will show the territory for which a veterinary medicine is authorised as Great Britain, Northern Ireland or United Kingdom.

The table below shows the difference between the current UK and new GB cascade order in descending order of suitability:

Current cascade: until 31 December 2020 New GB cascade: from 1 January 2021
UK authorised veterinary medicine for indicated species and condition Veterinary medicine with a Marketing Authorisation valid in GB or UK wide for indicated species and condition
Veterinary medicine with a Marketing Authorisation valid in NI* for indicated species or condition
UK authorised veterinary medicine for a different species or condition Veterinary medicine with a Marketing Authorisation valid in GB, NI* or UK wide for a different species or condition
UK authorised human medicine OR EU authorised veterinary medicine Human medicine with a Marketing Authorisation valid in GB, NI* or UK wide OR Authorised veterinary medicines from outside of the UK*
Extemporaneous preparation prepared by a vet, pharmacist or person holding an appropriate Manufacturers Authorisation Extemporaneous preparation prepared by a vet, pharmacist or person holding an appropriate Manufacturers Authorisation, located in the UK
In exceptional circumstances, a veterinary medicine may be imported from outside of the EU or a human medicine from outside of the UK In exceptional circumstances, a human medicine may be imported from outside of the UK*

*For products not authorised in GB or UK wide a Special Import Certificate from the VMD is required.

The cascade for vets in Northern Ireland

From January 2021, there will be changes to the cascade vets in NI should follow. The Northern Ireland Protocol (the Protocol) provides for NI to remain subject to EU legislation and the cascade which applies to vets in NI will remain as now. However, NI vets must consider GB as a third country and therefore products only authorised for the GB market sit within the last option. Preferential consideration must be given to veterinary medicines authorised in the EU over those products authorised on a GB only basis.

If there is a product authorised in GB but not authorised in NI or UK wide, you will need to apply for a Special Import Certificate in order to legally obtain that product for use under the cascade. The VMD will continue to administer the Special Import Scheme for NI.

The VMDs Product Information Database will show the territory for which a veterinary medicine is authorised as Great Britain, Northern Ireland or United Kingdom.

The table below shows the difference between the current UK and new NI cascade in descending order of suitability:

Current cascade: until 31 December 2020 New NI cascade: from 1 January 2021
UK authorised veterinary medicine for indicated species and condition Veterinary medicine with a Marketing Authorisation valid in NI or UK wide for indicated species and condition
UK authorised veterinary medicine for a different species or condition Veterinary medicine with a Marketing Authorisation valid in NI or UK wide for a different species or condition
UK authorised human medicine OR EU authorised veterinary medicine Human medicine with a Marketing Authorisation valid in NI or UK wide OR Veterinary medicine with a Marketing Authorisation valid in an EU* Member State
Extemporaneous preparation prepared by a vet, pharmacist or person holding an appropriate Manufacturers Authorisation Extemporaneous preparation prepared by a vet, pharmacist or person holding an appropriate manufacturers authorisation located in UK
In exceptional circumstances, a veterinary medicine may be imported from outside of the EU or a human medicine from outside of the UK In exceptional circumstances, a veterinary medicine with a Marketing Authorisation in GB* or outside the EU* may be imported, or a human medicine from outside of NI*

*For products not authorised in NI or UK wide a Special Import Certificate from the VMD is required.

Contact

If you have any questions please email: vetmedtrade@vmd.gov.uk

Published 14 December 2020

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