Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
Veterinary professionals are fully aware of the presence of competitors for medications. We generally keep our prices around the same as those of 1-800-PetMeds. Many of my colleagues do the same. Medications are marked up because it is our responsibility to dose them, research the patient's history to avoid interactions or complications, and answer the clients' questions. Veterinarians and support staff have been extensively trained to do this. HUman medical pharmacists have not. I recently met a pharmacist who told me she was trained to dose dogs and cats the same way human children are dosed. While Tylenol is considered safe for infants and children, it is lethal to cats and dogs! I have had countless frustrating experiences with outside pharmacies who do not understand the abbreviations veterinarians use, attempt to change the drug to one that is "better" (as in better for humans, not necessarily for animals), or just ignore labelled doses completely. One wrote "use as directed" for a steroid that had very specific dosing instructions, and needed to be stopped gradually! Another filled a scrip with a 2.0 dose rather than the .02 dose indicated on the written prescription. Thankfully, these pets had attentive owners who suspected something was amiss and contacted our office. Many, many pet owners are not so diligent. These errors could have easily resulted in fatalities. Furthermore, the time spent correcting them creates inefficiencies in the workplace that affect the bottom line and prevent us from hiring, promoting or investing. While pharmacy revenue only accounts for about 20% of our hospital's income, if lost, this revenue will have to be made up somehow. The obvious solution would be to increase fees and lay off staff. Not exactly good medicine for an ailing economy in a questionable recovery.