Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201 #560891-00370

Submission Number:
Susanna Aldridge
Tender Loving Care Animal Hospsital
Initiative Name:
Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
I am writing to voice my opinion on pet medications. As a veterinarian, I provide both filled prescriptions and paper prescriptions when appropriate. I am increasingly concerned about clients purchasing both prescription medications and EPA products without veterinary advice. The "grey market" of prescriptions has filled prescriptions without a DVM authorization and with product of questionable integrity: bar codes cut off, expired product, incorrectly stored product, and product labeled for sale in other countries. Local pharmacies are now advertising generic versions of traditionally veterinary-sold prescription products, such as heartworm prevention. It concerns me greatly that these products are being sold by people who have no education in the pathology of the disease or in its prevention. They are also unfamiliar with the unique needs of pets. For example, I recently heard of a colleague who wrote a paper prescription for a HW prevention on a client's request. The 3 month labrador puppy had a small size of heartworm prevention filled for 6 months...neither the client nor pharmacist took into account that the pup would be growing and would need a different dose within 1-2 months. A veterinarian filling this prescription would not sell that because we are familiar with a pet's needs...but if we take the time to counsel owners and discuss the product, then write a script to be filled elsewhere, we would have to raise costs or charge an Rx fee to cover the cost of our time for that information. I would not be able to stay in business if I spend 10 min discussing the use of a product that I am not making any income from. I have also personally had prescriptions filled by clients at human pharmacies which caused problems due to the pharmacist being unfamiliar with veterinary use of drugs. In one case, the pharmacist remarked to the client that the 1000 mg of cephalexin for her large dog was "a huge dose," this prompted the client not to give the full dose, and her dog suffered ill consequences. The dose prescribed was a standard dose for the veterinary use. In another case, a pharmacist erroneously filled a drug written as once daily (standard in veterinary med) as twice daily...which is standard in human medicine, but toxic when dosed this often in dogs. While I do provide written scripts upon request, I am always worried about how the script will be filled by a person unfamiliar with veterinary medicine. If human pharmacists are allowed to dispense drugs to pets, I would propose that they be required to have additional training in veterinary pharmacology...or employ a veterinary pharmacologist or DVM whereever drugs are being dispensed for pets. My own physician does not take the time to counsel me on drug issues, as that is the pharmacist's job. Vets cannot take the time to counsel clients about drugs, then not get any income for that time spent. So if a vet doesn't provide that counsel, the human pharmacist is unable to do so without further education. It is my feeling that drugs for pets be sold only in places where appropriate support for using that drug is also available...and that is currently not occurring in human pharmacies nor on the internet. Pets are suffering for this lack of information...or vets are. I often provide information to clients and spend much time counseling them, to my own business's detriment...but I truly care about the pet. If more pharmacy revenue were removed from veterinary practices, however, I could not keep the doors open and continue to provide that free drug counsel support. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Susanna Aldridge, DVM