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Scrap the “Cascade” legislation applied to Veterinary Medicines

Comment 1st July 2010

Currently it is a criminal offence for veterinary surgeons to prescribe a drug which is not a POM-V (Prescription Only Medicine-Veterinary ) except in exceptional circumstances. This legislation prohibits the use of cheap, safe and effective generic products which prior to its introduction were prescribed millions of times by thousands of vets without mishap. Drug companies have cynically exploited this legislation by inexpensively obtaining licences for these same generic products via simple bureaucratic exercises and then charging premium prices for them*. Drugs which used to cost a few pence per tablet  for the generic version can now cost over one pound per tablet for the licenced product.

*For confirmation of the above please refer to the Annual Report of  Dechra Pharmaceuticals in 2006 or 2007.

Why does this matter?

Animals are suffering. Veterinary fees have risen dramatically due to the increased cost of drugs and some pet owners simply cannot afford to have their animals treated. The charitable organisations such as the PDSA and the RSPCA are having their resources stretched due to increased demand for their services and increased costs of these medications.Neglect and abandonment is widespread and euthanasia on the grounds of cost has become an option.

The argument that licenced drugs are safer for animals than generics is spurious because they are identical products. It is important to be aware the generics have already been fully tested on animals and thus proven to be safe and effective before being approved for human use.

Governments across the world ( including the UK )are urging doctors to prescribe generics in order to achieve savings in the provision of healthcare.


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