Everyone has seen television advertisements for online pet pharmacies. They promote the convenience of shopping at home with the benefit of big savings, but are they a wise option for you and your pet? While most online pharmacies are trustworthy and safe, a few have questionable ethics and even some of the top online pharmacies have been fined in several states. You are always welcome to call us at 516-379-6200 to discuss any questions you may have about veterinary online pharmacies. Please review our requirements for working with an internet pharmacy, along with the important benefits our on-site hospital pharmacy offers to you and your beloved pet.
Our clients always have the option of having a prescription filled at an online pharmacy. However, because some internet pharmacies have dubious business practices, we do not work with them directly. You will need to make a verbal or written request to our hospital for a written prescription to send to the online pharmacy. You may pick up the written prescription during our normal business hours. In order to process a prescription the law requires that a veterinarian must have seen your pet within the past year. Depending on your pet's medical condition and the medication prescribed, follow up examinations and/or bloodwork may be necessary before a prescription can be written or refilled. If you need a previously written prescription refilled at any time, a new written prescription can be issued if you and your pet have met these requirements.
Using an Internet pharmacy means a delay in getting your pet's medication. It typically takes 1-2 days for the online pharmacy to process your prescription request. After that, there is usually a 2-5 day shipping time before your pet's medication reaches your door. Depending on what medication you are requesting, this time delay may mean a worsening condition for your pet before treatment is initiated.
Some medicines sold online:
are fake (counterfeit or “copycat” medications)
are too strong or too weak for your pet
have dangerous, unregulated ingredients
are out of date or expired
aren’t made using safe standards
aren’t labeled, stored, or shipped correctly
aren’t FDA-approved (haven't been checked for safety and effectiveness)
Any prescription medication purchased from our hospital has been inspected and approved by the FDA, and manufactured and packaged according to U.S. government regulations. Products and medications purchased online may have been obtained outside of the United States and may have different strengths or labeling than U.S. products. If the medication you purchased was approved by the FDA, it should say, “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to be used by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian”.
Do not use products that do not have this warning or if the label has been removed!
Please be aware that some websites that sell medication aren’t U.S. state-licensed pharmacies or aren't even pharmacies at all. These websites may sell medication that is inappropriate for your pet, and won’t protect your personal and private information.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers will only honor product guarantees when the medications are prescribed by and purchased from the pet’s veterinarian. Internet and mail-order catalogs, do not qualify for these guarantees. This means that if a product states it will prevent or treat a certain condition, and it fails to perform its stated claim, the manufacturer will not honor it's refund/replacement policy if the product was purchased online or through a catalog.
Pet insurance companies require that all prescriptions be FDA approved if there is to be any reimbursement for the product. If you have pet health insurance, you may need to look at your policy to determine if you will be reimbursed on medications when purchased from a legal online pharmacy. If your online purchase is honored by your insurance company, you will be required to provide a copy of the written prescription order (from our office) and a copy of the internet pharmacy’s invoice in order to qualify for reimbursement. When you purchase a prescription from our hospital pharmacy there is no additional paperwork required. Our itemized invoice is all you need for easy submission to your pet insurance company.
Our veterinary practice passes on manufacturers’ promotions and/or rebates and these frequently result in greater savings. Manufacturers' rebates are not usually available from online stores or catalogs.
Please feel free to call us at 516-379-6200 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding online internet pharmacies, their practices, or our policies for written prescriptions.