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Are Internet pet pharmacies really a wise option for your pet? Sure, they promote convenience of home shopping and the benefit of big savings but is it what's best for your pet? While most online pharmacies are trustworthy, some have questionable ethics and even some of the top pharmacies have been prosecuted in several states. You are always welcome to call our office to discuss questions you may have with veterinary online pharmacies. We encourage you to read the information below before making any decisions about your pet's health care.
Price: Internet pharmacies are not always the cheapest option. Our price for most items is comparable to what most internet pharmacies charge. In addition, some medications are temperature sensitive and require next day or 2nd day delivery, which will add to the cost. Prescriptions sometimes need a signature for delivery, so you may need to be at home to receive the shipment. In addition, any medication or food prescribed at our hospital is exempt from sales tax.
Rebates: Springtown Veterinary Hospital also passes on manufacturers' promotions and/or rebates and they frequently result in greater savings. These rebates are not usually available at online stores. Please ask us about special offerings.
Convenience: Using an internet pharmacy means a delay in getting your medication. It typically takes 1-2 days for the online pharmacy to contact us and process the prescription followed by a 2-5 day shipping time. Legally and ethically, the internet pharmacy must contact your doctor to get a prescription. A veterinarian must have a valid "veterinarian-client-patient relationship" in order to authorize a prescription. This process is vital to protect the health and safety of your pet. It is important to consider the overall health of your pet, concurrent medications, dosing regimens, and potential side effects when medications are prescribed.
Safety: Any prescription medication purchased from our hospital has been inspected and approved by the FDA, and manufactured and packaged according to the US government regulations. Medications purchased online may have been purchased outside the US and have different strengths and labeling than US products. Sometimes you can tell by checking the label. If approved by the FDA, it should say "Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to be used by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian." Do not use products that do not have this warning or if the label has been removed. Veterinarians cannot ensure compliance or creditability of any internet pharmacy. A number of problems have been reported, such as sales of pet medications without valid prescriptions. These drugs pose a health threat to your pets.
Guarantee: Pharmaceutical manufacturers will only honor product guarantees when the medications are prescribed by and purchased from your pet's veterinarian. Internet and catalog pharmacies do not qualify for these guarantees. This means, if you purchase heartworm medication on the internet and your dog develops heartworms, the pharmaceutical company will not take responsibility. The pharmaceutical companies that provide our medications have excellent reputations and stand behind the safety and efficacy of their products.
Insurance: Pet insurance companies require that all prescriptions be FDA approved. If you have pet health insurance, it may be more difficult to be reimbursed on medications when purchased from an online pharmacy. You will be required to provide a copy of you veterinarian's prescription order and a copy of the internet pharmacy's invoice. When you purchase a prescription from our hospital there is no additional paperwork. Your office call along with any prescription medications are all itemized on one invoice for easy submission to your insurance company.
Education: Representatives from companies like Bayer, Pfizer, Novartis, Merial, and others visit our office. These representatives have access to the latest data and research, and are valuable sources of up-to-the-minute information. Because we offer a full service dispensing pharmacy on site, these companies make a point of visiting our hospital frequently. In addition, our staff attends veterinary conferences and read the latest medical journals and research. We stay up-to-date on the latest disease trends in our region and stay on top of recent advances in veterinary medicine.
You have the option of having a prescription filled at an online pharmacy. However, because some internet pharmacies have dubious medical practices, we will need a direct request from you with the name of the pharmacy and what prescription your pet needs. In order to process your prescription, state law requires that we have seen your pet within the last year.
You also have the option to refill your pet's prescription refilled at any time through our hospital. With just a simple phone call to our office, your pet's medication will be ready for you to pick up or if you prefer, we can drop your prescription in the mail. Our pharmacy is a vital and integral part of our practice. It allows us to provide you and your pet with the latest technology, convenience, and the right medications – all at competitive prices.
If you still plan on using an internet pharmacy, please be careful. Insist on the same quality that you would expect from your veterinary hospital or from your neighborhood pharmacy. Your pet deserves nothing less!