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Posted on 01-13-2015

Purchasing Pet Drugs Online

Beware of Online Pet Pharmacies

Online pet pharmacies may grab your attention with eye-catching claims, sound convincing in their promises of lower prices, and their convenience.  But...are these claims true?

Did you know that FDA experts say it can be risky to buy drugs online from sites that advertise these and other similar products? 

There are websites that sell pet medications who represent legitimate, reputable pharmacies.  However, there are others that are imposters - breaking State, Federal, and also some International laws. The FDA has found companies that sell unapproved pet drugs, counterfeit pet products, expired drugs, incorrect formulas, improperly stored drugs, mislabeled drugs, and even dispense drugs without requiring a prescription. 

These medicines may not contain the actual drug. They may contain contaminants, the incorrect amount of drug, may not work as well due to age, or being stored in conditions that were too hot, cold, or humid, and may not have the proper directions for use.

Online pet pharmacies are not legally permitted to buy their supplies from veterinary pharmaceutical companies.  These companies rely on merchandise from veterinary practitioners, who violate their contracts with the veterinary pharmaceutical companies to sell their drugs to online pharmacies.  Pharmaceutical companies monitor these online transactions.  When they find the veterinarians who sell their products to online pharmacies, the veterinary practice loses their ability to purchase from that pharmaceutical company. 

One big reason veterinary pharmaceutical companies want their product distributed by a veterinarian is to ensure that a proper veterinary-patient relationship is in place so products are not misused or prescribed inappropriately.  There are many medications where your pet should undergo blood testing prior to starting medication and be monitored throughout.   It is also important for you to understand the medication you are giving to your pet and any possible side effects.

At Springhurst Animal Hospital, we strive for our prices to be comparable, if not cheaper, to most online prescriptions.  We are able to offer product rebates or free doses that are available through the manufacturer when purchased through us. With these rebates and free doses, the product cost is less expensive than online pharmacies.

Another benefit of purchasing through a veterinarian is product guarantee.  For example, if your pet gets heartworms or intestinal parasites that are covered by the prevention, the manufacturer will reimburse a portion of the treatment. Heartworm treatment can range, depending on your pet’s size, anywhere from $1,000-$1,500.    

Online pharmacies can appear to be an inexpensive and convenient alternative to purchasing medications through a veterinary office.  But in reality, they are short changing your pets health and putting their life at risk.

The best way to assure yourself that the medication you purchase is safe, stored properly, genuine, reliable, and has not been diverted is to purchase the medication directly from your veterinarian.

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