Pet medications don’t have to be bought from your local vet, and you can save a lot of money by purchasing treatments online. However, the FDA has expressed some concerns about consumers buying pet medications via the internet. It can be tricky to figure out what’s legitimate online, but if you know what dangers to look out for, then you’ll greatly minimize any risk of harming your loved ones. After all, you’ve carefully selected your pet, and you’d hate to lose a family member because you can’t afford the upkeep.
Look out for accreditation.
You should always purchase medication from a vet that has been accredited by Vet-VIPPS. This organization is part of the National Association of Boards Pharmacy, and members have to sign up to a quality assurance policy. If you do find an online pet pharmacy that is behaving suspiciously, then you can report them, and they will be investigated for misconduct. Even if they have a badge on their website saying they are an association member, it pays to check the online database.
Are they asking for a prescription?
Under federal law, prescription pet medication cannot be sold without a prescription. If you’re looking to purchase such treatments online and the website doesn’t ask for a prescription, then this is a huge red flag. It means that they’re not following regulations, and opens up suspicion about other business practices. Even if a certain drug may be available over the counter in another country, that doesn’t exempt them from the law. Remember, though, that this doesn’t include over-the-counter medication, such as flea treatment, and some treatments for arthritis and pain relief. Your veterinarian will commonly tell you whether a drug is prescribed or just recommended, and feel free to ask them if they’re unsure.
Do your own research.
You don’t have to take any online pharmacy’s claim at face value. Numerous companies use fake testimonials on their own websites, or pay customers for positive reviews. Check other online review websites, information sources like the Better Business Bureau, or even just Google the name of the pharmacy you’re interested in purchasing from to make sure there are no ongoing issues with customer service – other issues may be apparent, such as long wait times for shipping, or problems with ordering repeat prescriptions, which is also very annoying to deal with!
Talk with your veterinarian.
Your vet will always have your pet’s best interests at heart, so see if they have any recommendations about filling prescriptions online. They may even have a relationship with a pharmacy, and can negotiate a discount for you. A veterinarian can also cut through a lot of the medical jargon on a website and give you the hard facts about company policy. It’s also good to inform your vet that you are intending to purchase a prescription online, and if you do have to return, bring any medication you’ve bought online with you so they can inspect it and check whether or not it is legitimate. Veterinarians are a wealth of knowledge, and like all medical professionals, they just want to see their patients healthy and well!