There are a LOT of online pet pharmacies popping up now. And with the economy still in a slump and people struggling to provide for their human family members and still hold on to their pets, many individuals are looking to cut corners wherever they can. There are many reputable pet pharmacies offering pet medications online. These online pet pharmacies provide a way to save money but sometimes can cost the life of your pet if you choose the wrong pharmacy to purchase from. There are a few tips you can use to verify whether the company you have chosen is on the up-and-up.
First, ask your veterinarian. When I was shopping around for online pet pharmacies, I spoke to my dogs’ doctor, and she actually price-matched for me. That way, I knew that I was purchasing from the best vendor possible and got the best price possible. Our veterinarian said she’d rather lose a little profit than lose a customer, so she was happy to price match for us.
Next, look for obvious red flags, as you would with any online business. If a site is willing to sell you a prescription-only pet medication without requiring a prescription from a licensed veterinarian, run away. Likewise, if the site is not based in the United States, it’s best to avoid them. Many overseas sites sell counterfeit and expired drugs. If you can’t find physical contact information for the site, like a phone number or address, that’s another red flag.
Check for site accreditation. If the site is not licensed by the State Board of Pharmacies in the state where they are located, you want to steer clear. And, while not required, it’s best if the site is Vet-VIPPS (Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) accredited. These online pharmacies have voluntarily submitted themselves for this licensing and have successfully completed a 19-point system of checks and balances. They also undergo on-site surveys every three years, so you can be sure your pet is getting safe medications.
If you have any questions about this topic in general, or want to check out a specific pharmacy, visit the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine at 1-800-FDA-VETS. You can also visit the FDA or the NABP (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy) websites for more information. Your pet’s life is priceless – don’t risk their health for the savings you may find by using an online pet pharmacy that isn’t safe!
Information in this article was compiled from the following sources:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/default.htm
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy: http://www.nabp.net
American Veterinary Medical Association: http://www.avma.org/issues/prescribing/default.asp