Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
As a veterinarian for 17 years I have seen many changes in the prescribing of medications over my career. Pet owners are well aware that they can get heartworm prevention, flea prevention and all other prescription medications online through PetMeds or at their local Costco, Target, etc. There is heavy marketing in this area by these larger pharmacies and it is not due to concern for the animal but it is all about profit. I have clients request rx frequently through other pharmacies and there is no conflict there. We frequently fill online prescriptions and call in prescriptions to human pharmacies. But the fact is, cost is not the only concern, most of my clients like having the convenience of picking up their medication in my office at the time of the visit. They and their pet also benefit when we can educate them about the medication, go over any potential side effects, and answer any questions on the spot. This does provide value and is better for the pet! Until pharmacy schools require veterinary pharmacology as part of their curriculum you have a great potential for harming pets. I have spoken to human pharmacists directly over the phone to fill a simple thyroid prescription and been told that I was giving them the wrong dose because they were uneducated about the differences in dosing for pets. The free market system is working as it is. Pet medications are affordable, people have access and choices. I can go online and buy generic heartworm prevention for a large dog for $5 a month and I sell the name brand in my clinic for $7.40 per month. I truly feel that you will harm more pets than you help by regulating the way veterinarians fill medications.