Online Pharmacies Not Always Your Best Bet

Boxer__Computer-300x199It never makes sense to overpay for medications or veterinary care. Let’s face it though, the past few years have required quite a bit more belt-tightening.  Many pet owners will turn to online pharmacies to ease the burden on their wallet. Price should not be the only driving factor in making your medication purchases. Consider the following before buying online:

1. Some medications are only guaranteed when purchased through your veterinarian.Heartgard® and Frontline® are great examples. When Heartgard® is purchased through your veterinarian and used appropriately, if your dog becomes infected with heartworms the manufacturer will compensate you for $500 for veterinary services, provide adulticide treatment and a year’s supply of Heartgard®. The manufacturer of the flea and tick control product, Frontline®, will even pay for home extermination if needed! These guarantees can save a pet owner thousands of dollars in the long run.

2. Some pharmaceuticals require special packaging and shipping to remain viable, such as those requiring storage at certain temperatures. Our staff is trained to know which products require special handling and temperature control. They know to contact the distributor immediately and not shelve the product if it does not arrive within the recommended guidelines.

3. There are online pharmacies that sell black market and grey market pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, there are counterfeit, mislabeled and outdated products being sold to unsuspecting pet owners. Some online pharmacies sell drugs not approved in the United States. These products have different labeling and strengths than U.S. approved products. Beware if the labeling appears different or there are not directions written in English when you receive your pet’s medication. If a drug requires a veterinarian’s prescription, the veterinarian must have physically examined your pet. Grey marketing occurs when an online pharmacy has a veterinarian on staff writing prescriptions without having seen the animal. This is highly unethical as well as being dangerous to the animal’s health.

4. At times your pet’s illness will require that he begin his medication immediately to obtain the best possible outcome. As a service to our clients, our clinic maintains a large inventory of drugs to dispense at the time the animal is seen. Although we do our best to keep our prices reasonable, our clinic does not have the purchasing power of the large-scale online pharmacies. We provide the service of immediately dispensing a quality product in the prescribed amount without you, the client, having to search it out on the internet.

In the end, it’s important to note that, as your veterinarian, we have your pet’s best interest in mind. Our doctors are available to speak with clients regarding alternative medications as well as drug interactions. Most pet owners find it reassuring that their pet’s doctor is integrally involved in all aspects of their pet’s health care.

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Elkhorn Veterinary Clinic