Veterinary Import Service

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Searching for a specific medicine?  We can help you…

At Merlin Vet we offer UK vets the widest possible range of treatment options for any clinical situation which you may encounter.

Medicines discontinued or out of stock? We’ll find an alternative; in fact, we might already hold it in stock. Our Wholesale Dealers Licence enables us to carry stock of unlicensed product so that when you need it, it’s there for you: fast.

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Why is there a need to import medicines in veterinary practice?

There are occasions when a medicine needs to be imported into the UK for the treatment of an individual animal/s.  The most common reason for needing to import a medicine is because there is no authorised veterinary product available in the UK to treat a particular condition in an animal.

Another reason for needing to import is if there is a shortage of a UK authorised veterinary medicine.

Occasionally there is a need to import a human medicine for veterinary use because there is no UK human authorised medicine available.

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Which medicines can be imported?

When searching for a specific medicine, UK vets should be aware of the VMD’s Product Information Database.  This lists all veterinary medicines authorised in the UK, together with a link to the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs) stating the authorised conditions of use for each product.

Although the database lists all authorised medicines, not all authorised medicines are marketed in the UK.  It is best to check availability through wholesalers or by contacting pharmaceutical companies directly.

After confirming that there is no suitable UK authorised product, vets are permitted to use their clinical judgement to treat animals under their care in accordance with the Prescribing Cascade. 

What is the Prescribing Cascade?

The Prescribing Cascade is a risk-based decision tree that is set out in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations.  Its purpose is to allow the treatment of an animal in the event that there is no suitable UK authorised product available.  The steps, in descending order of consideration are:

a veterinary medicine authorised in the UK for use in another animal species, or for a different condition in the same species.

If there is no such product that is clinically suitable, either:

a human medicine authorised in the UK,

or a veterinary medicine not authorised in the UK, but authorised in an EU member state for use in any animal species in accordance with the Special Import Scheme. 

In exceptional circumstances, where there is no suitable veterinary medicine available either as an authorised product or under the cascade, a vet may treat an animal with

a medicine authorised in a country outside of the EU via the Special Import Scheme.

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VMD SIC

How to apply for a VMD Special Import Certificate

On the VMD website, Special Imports Scheme Home page…

  • Click “I am a Veterinary Surgeon and want to Import…”
  • Enter your RCVS Number and practice name
  • Choose the product from the VMD Special Imports database
  • Choose Merlin Vet Export Ltd as the importer
  • The SIC will be emailed to you. Please download this file.
  • Please upload SIC at the checkout stage of our Special Imports store.