Metairie Small Animal Hospital
Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
Having worked in a veterinary practice for 15 years I have seen both sides of this argument both from the practice's and client's perspective. While I understand the need to keep medications and products affordable for clients, I feel this level of legislation is unnecessary considering the regulations already in place to protect and help the consumer. Veterinarians currently provide written prescriptions for clients as requested or when they cannot provide the medications themselves. Therefore I feel this legislation is redundant and will ultimately lead to unnecessary work on the part of the veterinarians. In addition, I have had many negative experiences with online pharmacies including them providing medications to clients without proper prescriptions, providing incorrect medications, providing medications from other countries (not FDA approved products), providing incorrect dosages or instructions to the client. Based on this, I am not in favor of increasing the amount of prescriptions given to companies that clearly do not have the health and well-being of my patients as their top priority. My feeling has been that they are more concerned with profits than providing best medicine to our patients. These companies are willing to pay fines (and have) but have done little to change their practices. As it relates to human pharmacies filling our prescriptions, I do feel more secure with that. However, I am very concerned that these pharmacists are ill-equipped to deal with questions clients may have about drug interactions, dosages or side effects. As a profession we all constantly educate ourselves about new drugs and changes in dosages/applications. This is not something human pharmacists have ever had to do--and I don't feel secure in that happening, which could be detrimental to our patients. I would ask that we really evaluate how this measure really helps pet owners and pets. My feeling is that what we are looking at is an increase in paperwork and time on the part of the veterinarian and ultimately a less streamlined approach to treating our patients. I just don't see the benefit here and I worry that pet owners have not been fully informed about what these changes will mean for their pet's well-being. I also don't believe these changes will effect the overall cost of pet care to the pet owner. These changes do not in anyway alleviate the amount of time or effort the veterinarian has to put forward to treat a patient. So, with the increase in paperwork and time, I believe we will see the cost of services increase--particularly if veterinarians begin to lose revenue as a result. I sincerely hope that all involved take a close look at this legislation and remember that we are supposed to be looking out for our clients and patients. The passage of such legislation does nothing but increase work for all involved and does nothing to tackle the problem of rising health care costs.