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You've seen TV advertisements for Internet pet pharmacies-they promote the convenience of home shopping with the benefit of big savings but are they a wise option for you and your pet?
You are always welcome to call our office to discuss any questions you may have with veterinary online pharmacies.
If you wish to purchase medications from an internet or mail-order pharmacy you are welcome to do so. However, it is important to know the following:
Please be aware that there are times when we cannot authorize prescription medications. By law, we can only authorize prescription medication from an outside source if we would normally have prescribed it for your pet ourselves, and that we are monitoring the condition for which it is being prescribed. For some medications, such as flea control, this may be as simple as your pet having been examined here within one year. For others, such as antibiotics, your pet must have been seen for the specific condition and may need to be seen before we can authorize such medication. Medications such as Rimadyl, Previcox and Deramaxx require periodic blood testing.
Heartworm preventative requires that we have seen your dog within one year and that your dog has had a heartworm test within 2 years if no doses of a preventative were missed, or within one year if any doses were missed.
We cannot authorize any medications for any pet we have not seen for more than a year. These statements are true regardless of whether we dispense it here or you get it elsewhere.
Some internet pharmacies have recently been trying to make the public believe that the reason their veterinarian will not authorize medications is that the veterinarian is trying to sell you the medication themselves at a higher cost to you and profit to them. This is not true, as it is illegal for a veterinarian to refuse to write a prescription upon request for a medication that would have been dispensed. Many of these Internet pharmacies are actually operating illegally but it takes time to shut them down. They often buy medications from other countries in large quantities, getting discounts that allow them to sell less expensive, slightly different medication. Often these pharmacies are actually more expensive due to extra cost hidden in shipping fees. We try very hard to keep our heartworm and flea preventative medications as low as we can so that there is little or no benefit to you to resort to supporting such places. Our veterinary practice also passes on manufacturers' promotions and rebates which frequently result in greater savings to you. There have been a great number of lawsuits against internet pharmacies for illegal practices in acquiring and dispensing medications.
Please be aware that many manufacturers of flea and heartworm medications do not guarantee their own products when sold through non-veterinary sources.
You are encouraged to call the manufacturers on such medications to confirm this statement.
For accurate information on buying prescription medications online, please check the following source:
http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm203000.htm (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration) or call 1-888-463-6332