Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
The Fairness to Pet Owners Act is a concern for me for several reasons. Working in multiple locations in the Chicago area, I know that veterinarians will willingly write prescriptions for owners who request that when it is appropriate. There are also state laws that govern the writing of prescriptions. It is also true from my experience that most owners know that they can request prescriptions. It does not seem to me that the federal government needs to step in with a mandate causing a lot more work for the veterinarian and staff. There is no good reason why a veterinarian needs to write a prescription for something he is going to fill himself. There is already record of that in the patient file so the law really just doubles the work in record keeping. Human pharmacists are not familiar with the differences between human and animal medications. I have had one argue with me over his own dogs thyroid medication dose as he felt it was too high. It is indeed too high for a human. The public often assumes that health care professionals know everything and already come to me at times with misinformation when they push someone in the human field to answer animal related questions for them. Pet owners need to maintain a close relationship with their veterinary hospital in order to manage their pet's health correctly. Veterinarians field pharmaceutical questions daily and this helps maintain a knowledge base and support structure for patient health which is critical. The growing number of sources for veterinary drugs has increased the chance for mistakes and potential harm whether accidentally or purposely. There are companies who sell drugs to clients without prescription in spite of regulations. There are a number of clients who tell me that they are going to get medication for their pet online who also don't ever ask for a prescription. I am confident that they are not all lying and that dispensing drugs without a script is not a thing of the past as we had hoped. I believe a veterinarian should have the right to request a signed waiver to write a script. I do not want to be responsible for the activities of pharmacies given my experiences with them in the past. We as veterinarians work with suppliers who focus on our field and we can trust to deliver quality medication to our patients. There can be no doubt that walking out of the veterinary hospital with all the medication a pet needs is easier than obtaining it later. And for medications that are filled in between visits, hospitals can fill it quickly as they almost always have the needed drugs in stock. If the big companies feel we are wanting to keep pharmaceuticals solely as a source of revenue, that is likely because that is the only reason they can have to want to be involved. And they likely get a much larger margin on their sales. The dozens of veterinarians I have worked with do their best to help clients and keep the cost down while offering comprehensive health care. We need to keep our ability to do all we can to help our patients as we are educated to do just that. And the public needs to know that we are not big retail outfits who make a killing on selling medications. The public already knows their options. They can make their own decisions.