Veterinary Coalition to Target Drop in Client Visits DVM 360 Oct. 1, 2010

  • Curlytails, you know that in the state of California if you request a scrip for Meds from you Vet they are required by law to give it to you. They can not force you to buy from them or anyone else. You can take the scrip and shop around for the best price… however that said, when you buy on lie you do need to be careful about exp. dates.

  • First Basenji's

    Pat, yes, I do know about requesting a scrip from my vet now, thanks to your posts. Unfortunately, the way it shakes down, clinic policies essentially force me to buy my meds from either them or an online pharmacy.

    There was some delay when I got the scrip from my vet the last time, so I would have been unable to mail it to PetMeds in time to get the prescription refilled. PetMeds requires pet owners to mail in the paper scrip, whereas they will accept faxed scrips from the vets (which my vet refused to do). I took my paper scrip around to numerous other vets in town, and nobody would fill it if I was not their client. Walgreen's was willing to fill my prescription with generic Levothyroxine, but since the prescription specifically said Soloxine, and I've been advised to get only the name brand formulated for animal absorption and not generics, there was nothing I could do except get my prescription filled at the old vet at the same inflated price.

  • @curlytails:

    I took my paper scrip around to numerous other vets in town, and nobody would fill it if I was not their client.

    By Arizona law veterinarians can not fill or prescribe medications to anyone that they do not have a current working relationship with. Current to mean within the past year. I would assume this is the case countrywide but do not know.

    I would contact AAHA about your displeasure and why re: your old AAHA vet. Does not sound like they are prescrbing to the values that AAHA stands for. What a bummer.

    Nobuhiko Kawamoto

  • First Basenji's


    By Arizona law veterinarians can not fill or prescribe medications to anyone that they do not have a current working relationship with. Current to mean within the past year. I would assume this is the case countrywide but do not know.

    I don't know what the law says in California, but the clinics I talked to made it sound like there's something similar here, too. I did see that the AVMA code of ethics recommends (requires?) vets to prescribe medications only for pets they have seen within the last year, which makes sense. However, I didn't see anything about policies regarding filling prescriptions from other vets. To me, the prescription basically says that the doctor whose name and clinic is on the paper is vouching for the existence of a patient-client relationship. The pharmacy should be able to dispense the drug assured that a relationships exists, even if it's not "theirs". But no, it doesn't work that way.

    That was the disturbing thing to me about the whole process… Sure, you are "free" to take your scrip elsewhere and have it filled "anywhere you choose," but if there are no other available options other than online pharmacies, which are disparaged by veterinary clinics, your legal right to take your prescription elsewhere is kind of a moot point, isn't it? 🙂

    Linda, I like the sound of your vet. You even have an internal price-checker to make sure your prices are competitive! Maybe that's why visits to your clinic have not dropped, whereas others apparently have...

  • Interesting, two weeks ago I had a perscription filled by another vet b/c my vet didn't have the stuff in stock and i needed it that week. no problem, no charge.

  • Linda, I don't mean to complain about my vets. In fact at the time I called 4 other vets and got pretty much the same prices between 1 and 3 yr vaccine. Other than that issue, my vets are incredible, offering discounts over the last 15 yrs for rescues and giving full love and care beyond just medical. They are both a large and small animal vet, and the only facility within 40 mins of me that has 24/7 coverage… all the others send you to the next town to an ER clinic.

    As for AAHA... one nearly killed, in fact I believe they DID kill, Sayblee with their wonderful lack of care. The other specialist I took her to was also AAHA, and I would kiss the ground she walks on. Sadly the first caused so much damage she simply couldn't recover. My point being AAHA or not, each practice is different.

    Vet or online, the same company makes and supplies the drugs. If they aren't expired, then they aren't. Warehouses aren't that different. Yeah I have researched it but enough said.

    I do appreciate the information.

  • You can order via sending the fax to Foster/Smith, KVVet, Omaha Vaccine or a number of places. You are not limited to PetMeds. I have used them many times. However, that said, if I find that I can get it cheaper, my Vet will usually match the price or pretty close. And I don't mind a bit of a profit…. to anyone

  • First Basenji's

    The other online pharmacies are the same about receiving faxed prescriptions from pet owners (or at least they should be, according to law). That is, they have to accept mailed prescriptions if coming from the pet owner, whereas they can accept faxed prescriptions direct from the veterinarian. Since my old vet did not deal directly with any online pharmacies at all, I wouldn't have been able to get my prescription to any of those places in time. The problem of time is partly my fault – had I anticipated the trouble, I would have ordered pills more than 10 days ahead of when the month-long prescription was to run out. But by the time I realized I wasn't going to be able to fill it at any local vet, I only had 4 days worth of meds left, including a Sunday to mail out my paper prescription, have the pharmacy process it, and ship it to me. Funny thing is, I could have ordered the portion I needed with next day air shipping and still undercut my vet. Which goes to show, I think, that they had an unreasonable markup on this specific drug.

    I'm not against profits for establishments whom I feel are worth my money. I certainly gave plenty to my old vet before I decided I wasn't satisfied with the level of care... The new vet I selected was actually very clear about how pharmacy revenue helps pay for continuing services, training, and equipment in their operations, so of course they would hope that I buy meds directly from them, and not online. This is fair -- I'm not a total cheapskate, but I have to be pragmatic with limited finances. And as has been pointed out throughout this thread, affordability is a factor that a lot of pet owners take seriously, so ideally a vet can work with their clients in a way that assures them they're not being exploited for profit, but that it's a mutual relationship.

    For some drugs, finding a cheaper sources is not going to be a primary consideration -- antibiotics, for example. I'll pay $3.30 a pill for Baytril rather than go through the trouble of mailing in a prescription and ordering it online because my dog needs them NOW, right? And if it's a short-term thing, like 20 pills, that difference of $10 or whatever I would save by ordering online is not worth the trouble. But for drugs that may not be urgent, but necessary, and chronic, customers will certainly be tempted to shop around.

  • I get meds from all over! Some from the vet, some from Walmart (vet wrote me a years Rx, getting the 3-month orders, for $20 on a med that was more than that per month at vets), some from local drug store, some from on-line meds. I agree, if I need it now, whatever it costs is OK, but for meds that my dog takes every day for years, I have time to shop around! My vet told me 20 years ago that the rabies was good for at least 3 years, but the county required a shot each year…I used to go 18 months at least.

    I don't begrudge vets honest profit and am happy to get many meds there, but for ongoing meds it makes sense to shop around.

  • @curlytails:

    Kris, thanks for the article, especially for the source. I find it VERY interesting to read through some of those articles, even though I am obviously not the intended audience.

    You're very welcome.

Suggested Topics