The Cascade is a legislative provision that allows a veterinary surgeon to prescribe unauthorised medicines in an EU country that would not otherwise be permitted.
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The principle of the Cascade is that, if there is no suitable veterinary medicine authorised in a particular EU country to treat a condition, the veterinary surgeon responsible for the animal may, in particular to avoid causing unacceptable suffering, treat the animal in accordance with the following sequence, in descending order of priority:
A veterinary medicine authorised in the EU country for use in another animal species or for a different condition in the same species.
If there is no such product, the next option is either – a medicine authorised in the EU country for human use, or a veterinary medicinal product (VMP) not authorised in this EU country but authorised in another Member State (MS) for use in any animal species (in the case of a food-producing animal the medicine must be authorised in a food producing species) in accordance with an import certificate issued by this MS.
If there is no such product, the last option is a medicine prescribed by the veterinary surgeon responsible for treating the animal and prepared extemporaneously by a veterinary surgeon, a pharmacist or a person holding an appropriate manufacturer’s authorisation.