We often get questions about medications, their sources and cost. At the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital, we are dedicated to providing our clients with several levels of convenience to order home-delivered, competitively-priced medications from our site (via VetSource) or our 24-hour prescription hotline and our drive-thru prescription pick-up.
It is understandable that people are trying to save money and internet pharmacies are an option. However, the health of your pet is more important to us than anything else. Thus, we have an online prescription policy that points out a number of concerns to take into consideration if you are purchasing pet medicine from internet pharmacies.
The Ann Arbor Animal Hospital prices parasite prevention products competitively with the major online pharmacies (when you include the free doses or rebates we offer), but we also are happy to provide the flexibility for you to purchase medications from a number of places. It is not our intent to discourage anyone from purchasing medications elsewhere, but we feel obligated to share concerns that have surfaced with internet pharmacies. Below are some points to consider:
- Drug manufacturers only guarantee products purchased directly from a veterinarian. Example – Heartworm preventative given monthly carries a guarantee that proper use of the product will prevent heartworm and internal parasite infection. If, however, your pet is diagnosed with one of these parasites after using a preventative, AAAH will treat your pet at no cost to you. If, on the other hand, you purchase the product from an internet pharmacy, you are forced to treat your pet with your own resources then deal with the internet pharmacy for reimbursement of care.
- Counterfeit drugs have been an issue at both human and pet online pharmacies. You can find useful information on this topic through the following links on the FDA’s website:
- Discount coupons or free product with purchase offers which manufacturers supply to veterinarians are not available with internet purchases.
- Many veterinary manufacturers limit product sales to licensed veterinarians. At least one internet pharmacy has been heavily fined for selling non-FDA approved drugs. This creates liability concerns for us when we’re asked to validate prescriptions requests from these companies.
- Appropriate handling, storage and shipping procedures may not be followed rendering heat sensitive drugs ineffective.
- We have known some of these pharmacies to sell short or dated product.
- Shipping costs may be hidden, so be sure to check to see if you are really saving money.
- Ann Arbor Animal Hospital can fill your prescription in a timely manner—you receive the medications your pet needs and do not have to wait to receive your medications “5 to 9” business days after placing your order.
Additional sources of information:
Information about online pharmacies from the FDA.
This great article from AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) spells out some frequently asked questions by pet owners about prescriptions and pharmacies on their website.