Buying Your Meds Online?

Everyone likes a bargain! But do you really want to cut corners on your pet’s health? Consider the facts:

    • The manufacturers of most major flea/tick/heartworm medications will not guarantee their products unless you buy them from a licensed veterinarian. If your pet gets fleas, ticks or heartworm while you are using preventative, the manufacturer will not refund your money or pay for any medical treatment.
    • Internet and catalog suppliers are not authorized vendors of Frontline Plus and Heartgard; neither are any of the pet “super stores” that carry these products. If there is any doubt in your mind, please call Merial at 1-888-merial-1.
    • In several states across the country, including Ohio, many of these catalog and online merchants have been investigated and disciplined by various state pharmacy boards and Attorney Generals’ offices for offenses ranging from dispensing medications without a prescription to fraud to violations of environmental regulations to unfair trade practices.
    • In many instances we have seen these unauthorized vendors sell products that are expired, short-dated, intended for overseas sale only or mis-labeled.
    • Many of these online and catalog merchants advertise savings that simply do not exist. Please factor in shipping and handling, and bear in mind that an unauthorized vendor cannot redeem coupons. As an example of how this can impact price, consider that as of this writing we are offering “Buy 6 applications, get 1 free” coupons on Frontline Plus. The value of that free dose is anywhere from $11 to $13.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers some very good direction to pet owners in their article, “Purchasing Pet Drugs Online: Buyer Beware.”

Vet-VIPPS Accreditation

Before you order any medications from an online vendor, please check to see whether the pharmacy is Vet-VIPPS accredited (Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites). Pharmacies displaying the Vet-VIPPS Seal comply with criteria that assures the customer’s right to privacy, authentication and security of prescription orders, adherence to a recognized quality assurance policy, and provision of meaningful consultation between customers and pharmacists.

Our Prescription Policy

When a catalog or online vendor contacts us to request a prescription be faxed to them, it is our policy to provide a written prescription TO THE PET OWNER, who may then choose to fax or mail the prescription to the pharmacy. The Ohio Veterinary Medical Association provides an excellent overview of client’s rights and veterinarian’s obligations in the article, “Pet Medication Choices – Insuring Your Pet’s Health)” (pdf) An excerpt:

“To insure that a prescription is properly adhered to and cannot be easily altered or reproduced without the veterinarian’s knowledge or consent, some veterinarians elect not to fax prescriptions. Instead, when the veterinarian provides a prescription on a prescription pad they are giving complete flexibility in having the prescription filled as you, the client, decide.”

“When a veterinarian questions a prescription request initiated by an outside pharmacy, or is concerned with honoring a prescription request to be sent by facsimile rather than as an original on a prescription pad, they are not violating the law or a code of professional conduct. A veterinarian is your pet’s health care professional who first and foremost is concerned with the medical circumstances when issuing any prescription.”

The Northarlington Animal Clinic’s goal is to maintain the highest standards of veterinary care for our patients, while also offering convenience and affordability to our clients. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions about our prescription policies.