Counterfeit pet drugs have become a multi-billion dollar business. There was a time when pet medications and parasite control products were exclusively dispensed to patients by licensed Veterinarians. Now, owners hoping to maintain costs pursue discounted products online. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of unlicensed, discount sites that market products bearing counterfeit labels, medications that have not been maintained under manufacturer-mandated conditions, medications that do not contain the compounds displayed on their label, or products approaching or exceeding their expiration date, all in violation of the law.
While captions of “pet prescriptions cheap,” and “no prescription necessary,” may seem attractive, they should really be red flags alerting you to the potential of an illegal operation where your pet is the ultimate victim. If an online company is willing to sell prescription medication without a prescription, or provide prescription medication after the owner fills out a “health” questionnaire, they are not only actively working to undermine the owner/veterinarian relationship, they are breaking the law! While that practice alone should be enough to eliminate them from consideration, unsuspecting consumers welcome their offer as another cost saving measure, allowing them to bypass the expense of medical exams or rechecks, and blood work associated with obtaining a new prescription, or refilling existing prescriptions at their Veterinarian’s office. They don’t realize that Veterinarians have these protocols in place for the protection of the animal undergoing treatment. Dispensing medication without physically evaluating an animal is dangerous. Long-term medication usage requires periodic blood work to check for potential elevation in liver enzymes and kidney functions, as well as a physical assessment of the pet to assess stability and/or progress, and determine any potential need for dosage adjustment. Bypassing these critical measures constitutes dangerous medicine.
Your Veterinarian stocks pharmaceuticals for the safety of their patients and convenience of their clients, as part of the total health care concept. Often, they will work with you to match pricing offered on reputable, licensed online sites.
There are tangible consequences for treating pets with counterfeit preventatives, and substandard prescription medications. Discuss your options with your Veterinarian, to determine if an online pharmacy is a consideration for your pet, and ask them to guide you towards an accredited, licensed site staffed by licensed pharmacists. Additionally, visit the FDA’s website for information on how to identify counterfeit packaging on prevention products for flea and tick, and prescription heartworm medications. When it comes to cutting costs on your pet prescriptions…buyer beware!