Beware of Online Pharmacies and Drugs

“Discount pet drugs—no prescription required” may appeal to pet owners surfing the Web, but FDA experts say it can be risky to buy drugs online from sites that tout this message and others like it. The following are some facts that we would like you to be aware of:

  • The only authorized vendors of these products are veterinarians. Unauthorized retailers, including pet stores, catalogs, and internet pharmacies are not obtaining their products from the manufacturer, as manufacturers maintain a strict policy of selling products exclusively through practicing licensed veterinarians.
  • The FDA has found companies that sell unapproved pet drugs and counterfeit pet products, that make fraudulent claims, that dispense prescription drugs without requiring a prescription, and that sell expired drugs.
  • Only the prescriptions you buy from your vet are 100% guaranteed from the manufacturer.
  • Some internet and catalog goods can be second, third, or even fourth hand products. During the process of reselling they may have been stored under improper conditions. There is no temperature control and there is no regulatory agency to inspect how these products have been handled. Extreme temperature changes during shipping can dramatically impact the effectiveness of these products.
  • Some of the medications being sold from these unauthorized sources are made for foreign markets; these foreign medicines are not approved by the FDA for sale in the United States. They may be materially different from the US products in a number of ways, including their purity and potency. These are not the same products. These counterfeit products are packaged in retail cartons and are designed to look similar to the legitimate drug. The manufacturers are currently fighting to stop the import if these potentially dangerous and ineffective products.
  • The FDA affirms that some online pharmacies are may be legitimate. However, the Administration also warns us to watch these pharmacies for red flags. Outdated, or expired, medications may be labelled incorrectly. Combination drugs may have outdated or misformulated components. In addition, you may not be able to get a refund if you are not happy with the product for these or other reasons.
  • We assure you that any prescription, as well as any flea and tick products, at our practice have been inspected and approved by the FDA and have been purchased from the manufacturer.

Northeast Animal Hospital and Downtown St. Pete Animal Hospital take your pet's health and medication seriously by taking a stand against online pharmacies. Our goal and fervent desire is to partner with you in pet's health care, which includes adhering to proper standards in the purchase, storage, and adminstration of your pet's medications. It also includes making sure your pet is getting the correct medication and that it is labeled correctly with dispensing directions.

We want to make caring for your pet as convenient and economical as possible. We pass on manufacturer’s promotions, rebates, and coupons, which can mean more savings. And, if you prefer, we will gladly mail your pet’s medication to you at no extra charge. Also, if your pet cannot tolerate a certain medication, we will happily credit your account.

Your pet’s health is of the utmost importance to us. We recommend that you check out the FDA’s website at www.fda.gov for more information. Please feel free to call our office if you have any questions or concerns.

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