Dangers of Online Pharmacies
Updated: Feb 21
Thank you for this opportunity to explain the difference when purchasing veterinary drugs and parasite preventaties from a veterinarian vs. the internet, catalogues, or big box retailers.
1. Back Channels and Possible Counterfeits
These products are restricted, under federal law, for use only by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian within a valid “veterinarian-client-patient relationship”. Manufacturers have a policy to only dispense through veterinarians to ensure the quality of the product to the end user through a documented chain of custody and decreases the potential for counterfeit, tampered, or expired products to be introduced to your pet. It has come to our attention that some of these online and retail pharmacies are tampering with packaging to avoid adherence put in place to ensure strict quality standards.
2. Lack of Guarantee
A product acquired through unauthorized sources, with or without a prescription, will not qualify for any product guarantee reimbursement, particularly with heartworm preventative. The manufacturers cannot guarantee the authenticity or proper storage and handling of the products purchased outside the veterinary channel; therefore, they reserve the right to refuse to honor any associated product guarantees or provide financial support in the event of an adverse experience, lack of efficacy, or quality defect associated with such products. We have personally seen drug companies stand by their guarantees such as 1) $460 for a dog that developed hookworms, vomiting, & diarrhea, 2) $1200+ for a dog that developed heartworm while on preventatives, 3) $2000+ for a dog that developed liver/kidney disease.
3. No Preparation for Adverse Reactions
The third difference is the doctor-patient relationship. The efficacy of most products depend upon proper usage. We can explain the product to you and how to properly administer the product and, in some instances, give the initial dose so you can see how it is done. Pharmacists at the retail pharmacies have received no training in the proper administration of these products, potential adverse reactions, or potential adverse drug interactions.
We appreciate the relationship that we have established with you and your pet. We will generally honor your prescription request from another source, but want to make sure you are aware of the risks of purchasing your pet’s prescription from unauthorized sources or without required blood screening and monitoring. We have partnered with an online store to provide all the benefits of ordering online yet knowing they are coming from a trusted source. These benefits include a large selection and autoshipping food and preventatives so you never run out or miss a dose.