How reliable are Internet Pharmacies?
There are major differences between purchasing products from a Veterinary Hospital and Internet Pharmacies. First, is the quality of your pet’s medication.
Novartis Animal Health (Interceptor and Deramaxx) and several other drug manufacturers have filed lawsuits against numerous internet pharmacies for illegally selling unapproved versions of their products or for dispensing medications without a valid prescription. It is important to know that Pet Med Express (a.k.a 1-800 Pet Meds) and other internet pharmacies cannot legally obtain many of these prescription products they sell in the United States. They do not purchase them directly from the manufacturer, as they only sell their product to licensed veterinary hospitals and clinics. These companies are forced to obtain them illegally through unethical veterinarians or through foreign sources. The risk of using a foreign labeled or produced medication is that their safety, efficacy and purity are not under FDA or EPA regulation. Additionally, these products sold over the internet may have been warehoused in unregulated storage facilities for extended periods of time at temperatures not recommended by the manufacturer and could alter the product’s effectiveness. There have also been numerous cases of counterfeit medications. These medications are not only useless, they could even harm your pet. Therefore, any product not purchased directly from a veterinary hospital or clinic is not warrantied by the manufacturer.
In February 2000, the EPA issued a cease and desist order against Pet Med Express after accusing it of selling misbranded products. Companies like Pet Med Express, Savemax and Drs. Foster & Smith have not only been fined for illegal practices, but currently have numerous pending lawsuits against them for pharmacy board violations in various states. These allegations are based on frequent improprieties in filling prescriptions. Therefore, for your pet’s safety and because our hospital strongly advises against purchasing products from these companies.
Drug manufacturers guarantee 100% product satisfaction only on products purchased exclusively through veterinary clinics and hospitals. In addition, manufacturers’ rebates are honored only on purchases made at veterinary clinics. This has numerous implications. It means that should your pet develop an adverse reaction or side effect to one of these medications when treated according to the veterinarian and manufacturers’ recommendations, or should your pet be diagnosed with a disease or parasite that the medication when used as directed should have prevented, patients who have received these medications purchased from a veterinary hospital will find the drug companies stand completely behind its product and often give full financial backing for your pet’s testing and treatment.
We have experienced this support firsthand. If an adverse reaction or infection should occur when the item is received from an internet pharmacy or other unapproved source, the manufacturers will not stand behind the product or help out financially because they cannot guarantee the products authenticity, or how it was handled.
Our practice offers competitive pricing on our products. Our prices, especially when shipping and handling charges are factored in, are often below, the same, or within a few dollars of the internet pharmacy prices. Additionally, by using veterinarian-exclusive manufacturer rebates and special incentive programs that are offered through us, our prices often are sometimes less than popular internet pharmacies.
To read more inforamation regarding online Pharmacies from The FDA http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm203000.htm