Continuing our look at online pharmacies, we have more words of caution from the FDA. Last time, we made it through the first A and W.
Be Online Pet Pharmacy AWARE:
A- Ask your veterinarian
W-Watch for red flags
A-Always check for site accreditation
R-Report suspicious online pet pharmacies
E-Educate yourself about online pharmacies
A- Always check for site accreditation. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy developed a voluntary accreditation program for veterinary pharmacies that work over the internet – Vet-VIPPS for Veterinary Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites. Internet pharmacies accredited through VIPPS have completed an online survey and met 19 areas of review, get yearly reviews and reaccreditation, have onsite surveys every 3 years and must be licensed for each state where they ship drugs.
According to the FDA, “Vet-VIPPS accredited pharmacies must also meet other strict criteria, including protecting patient confidentiality, quality assurance, and validity of prescription orders.”
R- Report Problems and Suspicious Online Pharmacies Without input from consumers about problems their pets have with medications ordered online, the FDA has no reason to investigate a company. Procedures for reporting complaints and problems are well established. Contact the company listed as making the drug your pet has/had trouble with, but do more as well.
From the FDA website: To report adverse drug events directly to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) call 1-888-FDA-VETS. For a copy of the reporting form (FDA Form 1932a) and for more information on how to report problems, visit the following website:
Protect yourself, your pets, and others! Don’t fall victim to illegal online pharmacies. Report suspicious online pharmacy sites to FDA and NABP at:
Remember, if you don’t report a problem, the FDA has no way to suspect one.
E- Educate yourself about online pharmacies. You must spend the time and effort to research an online pharmacy before ordering any medications.
As the FDA stresses:
For more information about purchasing pet medicines from online pharmacies, visit CVM’s website at:
http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary or call CVM at 1-240-276-9300.
Whenever your pet needs prescription medicines, your veterinarian is your best,
most reliable source, because your veterinarian:
• physically examined your pet and knows your pet’s medical and treatment history,
• knows which medicines are safest for your pet,
• educates you about potential side effects associated with your pet’s medicines,
• shows you how to properly use the medicines prescribed for your pet,
• stores prescription medicines in the clinic according to label directions, and
• uses current, unexpired medicines.
We have many wonderful veterinary clinics in our central NY area. if your veterinarian does not carry a certain drug, he or she will give you a prescription which can usually be filled at a local pharmacy. Between the pharmacist and your veterinarian, you will be advised of drug interactions, side effects, etc. Costs may be more than you pay with your health insurance coverage for your own drugs but most medications are reasonable.
Local pharmacies, such as our Walgreen’s can also do compounding for some medications – adding flavors or adjusting medications so they may be given topically instead of orally in some cases.
Use extreme caution with internet pharmacies and think local – for your pet’s safety!