HouseCalls for Pets
Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
I am attaching a letter I wrote to my congress persons when I first heard about the legislation (HR1406) that was before congress. This sums us my understand and my concerns as a practicing veterinarian that just trying to provide AFFORDABLE AND EFFECTIVE care for my patients. I have made good use of some of the internet and compunding pharmacies BUT there are a lot of them that do NOT provide decent and effetive medications. It is a process for us to figure out what meds and what brands of generic meds ARE effective and what on-line and compounding pharmacies are REPUTABLE. The medications I can provide directly give me a confidence in the medications, as I got them myself after much research. Medications as a stream of income allows me to offer OTHER SRVICES at more reasonable prices (so IF consumer price issues are involved that must be considered). My "salary" has to be made up of ALL the things I do for the client from exams, treatments, minor grooming, medications, flea control etc. So profit from pharmacy charges means my exam fees/treatment fees can be lower if not all my income has to be from services. That means a BETTER OVERALL DEAL for the client. I offer many meds at rate lower or competitive with these on-line places, BUT in order to compete I lose money. As a SMALL business owner I can only order a single case not 100 cases so they get better manufactuer deals than I ever could! So the competition is unfair for me. But I want the owner, for sourcing reasons often, to get the medication from me so I know it will actually work. These are things I know you have probably not been considering, but are vital to me doing my job WELL and even be able to survive business at all in the current business climate. I ALWAYS allow owners a written Rx if they ask for it, or if I don't want to carry some medication they want or need. If they want to get their medications from another source that is OK. BUT I do discuss -depending on the product and the pharmacy - that it might be a crap shoot IF I do not know the phamacy. I had one pharmacy AFTER I declined to fill an Rx for a client because it was not appropriate for that patient. The client had called the Rx request in on the advice from someone they met at the dog park. The owner was FINE with WHY I declined the Rx and I recommended a different type solution to that problem. BUT 1 year later the pharmacy called me NOT AT THE OWNERS REQUEST and tried to get me to approve a "refill" on a DENIED medication! I called the owner and they did NOT ask for it and did not want it!!! I gave that pharmacy an earful! But that is the type of ethics we have to deal with out there. So I prefer to know what type and where my patients/clients are getting their medications. The drug industry is a mess, generics getting pulled in order to bring back the product at a higher price or to force use of the brand name...We feel like hostages to the drug companies, the internet pharmacies and the Chinese knock offs that pass for drugs these days. I spent a tremendous amount of time the last 5 years price shopping deals for my pateints on drugs that were basic, cheap and effective in past but the drug industry doesn't feel like THEY are making enough money, so they are creating shortages. This is criminal and people and pets are suffering because of this outrageous situation. In one situation I have to get a clinic I work for to order a brand name drug (because I personally have only used the generic they won't sell to me directly). So the generic is $1.21 per pill now and the brand (if you can get it, is $0.44 per pill - explain that one to me!) Help us do our jobs in a reasonable fashion do without transferring a large part of our prifts to another industry so we will then have to INCREASE our prices and force our clients out of being able to afford the services the pets need. That affects HUMAN health as well if pets do not get good care and those untreated diseases spread other pets and people too.