Online Pharmacy Blues

We are so fortunate to live in a world today where everything is a click away. I’m fairly certain there is no greater bargain shopper than yours truly. I often find myself at the computer with 5 or more tabs open searching for products with the best reviews and the best prices.

When it comes down to the purchase, however, I always rely on the advice of friends and family.

When shopping for pet supplies, brushes, cat trees, food puzzles, etc., I encourage you to shop away. Ultimately there is no harm to your pet in choosing poorly — we’ve all bought a dud product or two. However, when it comes to your pet’s health there are far greater risks with a poorly chosen medication or bag of food. There is likely a reason you found a remarkable deal on a medication or diet through an on-line distributor. There have been numerous cases of counterfeit packaging and “grey market” products being sold through on-line pharmacies. Products have been sold that have been traced back to markets in India and Mexico (while not necessarily a sign that the product is of poor quality but hasn’t had the benefit of FDA / USDA oversight) and passed off as American made.

Many of the major drug manufacturers such as Merial, Novartis, Pfizer (among others), report that they don’t sell directly to on-line pharmacies and in most cases these manufacturers will void their product guarantee since the products can’t be traced through legitimate means.

So what does this mean for the consumer?

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacies created the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) in 1999 to help control this issue in the human on-line pharmacies as well as Vet-VIPPS to help regulate the veterinary industry. These pharmacies are required to comply with state and federal laws and regulations and NABP’s criteria. The few pharmacies that are Vet-VIPPS certified are holding a higher standard than those that aren’t. I would certainly not trust a site that doesn’t have the Vet-VIPPS seal but there is still a word of caution even with sites with this association. The manufacturers (Merial, Novartis, Pfizer) still report to us that they don’t sell product directly to 1800PetMeds so we don’t know exactly where these products come from. We assume directly through Veterinarians because they do still have to have proof of legitimate purchase for the Board of Pharmacy.

In order to provide our clients with access to the widest variety of medications and products, at compitive prices, and from a Vet-VIPPS pharmacy with a trusted veterinary supplier, we are now offering to fill prescriptions for our clients through Vetsource. Our online store can be accessed from our website, Sabinovetcare.com look for the tab for Vetsource, and order your medications, after approval from our veterinarians, your medications can be sent to your home in Tucson or wherever you are traveling!

We can also assist you to place an order in our clinic or over the phone. Almost any of your pets’ medications, heartworm or flea and tick prevention, and several types of prescription diets can be ordered on Vetsource and they will be shipped to your home, usually in 3-5 days. There are no shipping fees on medication purchase over $39. (Food items have shipping costs). Please let us know if you would like any information about this new service.

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