Picture representing current thematic area

Illegal Imports

It is an offence to import veterinary medicines except under the conditions set out in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR). The VMR give appointed inspectors powers that allow any veterinary medicine that does not comply with the VMR to be seized. (see VMGN 10 - Guidance on Enforcement).

Who can import UK authorised products into the UK?

  • The holder of the marketing authorisation may import the product;
  • the holder of a manufacturing authorisation may import a product to which the authorisation relates;
  • an authorised wholesale dealer may import a product if the authorisation covers the product and the holder of the marketing authorisation has been informed in writing;
  • a veterinary surgeon or a pharmacist may import any authorised veterinary medicinal product;
  • a suitably qualified person may import a product that that person is permitted to supply; and
  • authorised veterinary medicines in the category AVM-GSL (Authorised Veterinary Medicine - General Sales List) may be imported.

Who can import veterinary medicines that are not authorised (unauthorised products) in the UK?

  • The holder of a marketing authorisation may import an unauthorised veterinary medicine if it is for the purposes of the manufacture of a veterinary medicine for which he holds a marketing authorisation;
  • the holder of a manufacturing authorisation may import an unauthorised veterinary medicine if it is for the purposes of the manufacture of a veterinary medicine that he/she is permitted to manufacture;
  • a wholesale dealer may import an unauthorised veterinary medicine for the purposes of re-export;
  • a veterinary surgeon may import an unauthorised veterinary medicine if it is under the terms of a Special Import Certificate (SIC) or a Special Treatment Certificate STC issued by the VMD. The product may be imported by the veterinary surgeon or by a wholesale dealer or pharmacist acting as his agent, in which case a Wholesale Dealers Import Certificate (WDIC) is required (see VMGN 5 - Import Certificate Schemes);
  • a wholesale dealer or pharmacist may import an unauthorised veterinary medicine for the purposes of storing it pending administration by a veterinary surgeon under the cascade or a SIC or a STC, providing that a WD(U)IC (Wholesale Dealers Urgent Import Certificate) is held by the importer.

Q. How do I know if the veterinary medicine is approved for the U.K. market?

A. A product that is authorised in the UK is one that is labelled for the UK market and bears the UK marketing authorisation number. This can be identified by the letters Vm, Vh or PL followed by a number code e.g. Vm12345/4000 or Vh 05467/4007, or have an EU code, e.g. EU/1/99/099/001-001 and be labelled in English. Some medicines may be labelled for the UK and another member state.

Q. What can the general public import?

A. Members of the general public may only import UK authorised medicines in the category AVM-GSL, or those marketed under Schedule 6 of the VMR (Exemption for small pet animals).

Q. Can I import products that have the same name and ingredients as the UK version but are not authorised in the UK?

A. No. All medicines must be authorised in accordance with the VMR before they may be sold or administered within the UK.

Last Updated: 14 November 2013

ISO 27001 Accredited logo Positive about disabled people logo iip logo

The VMD is an executive agency of defra defra logo