Online pharmacies

This week, one of our pet parents came in to ask some questions about purchasing his pets’ parasite preventions through an online pharmacy. He came in with the same thought that many of our clients have after seeing the many web and television advertisements  – “online pharmacies can save me money”. He wanted to do the right thing for his pet, but in these tougher economic times like many fo us, he was trying to save money on his purchase.

Like many consumers, he wasn’t really aware of the cost differences and product information that makes pharmacy purchases through your pet’s veterinrian the better choice. So I invited him in to answer his questions, the same questions we hear regarding online pharmacies all the time:

1. Why is it so much more expensive to purchase my pet’s medication here?   
Honestly, although many internet and catalog pharmacies advetise that their medications are less expensive, in many cases when our clients check the actual costs,  most medications, especially parasite preventions are as much as $10 – 40 less here at the hospital. The manufacturers also often offer additional rebates that are only available when you are purchasing your pet’s medication here that reduces the cost even further.
We try to find as many ways as possible to save our clients money on their pets medications. Some of these cost savings include rebates, savigs clubs offered through manufacturers, bulk supply special orders, and our discount $5/$10 prescription list to name a few.

2. Why do you discourage purchasing my pet’s medications online? 
There are several reasons we discourage purchasing your pet’s medications through online pharmacies.

  • Many manufacturers of parasite prevention offer guarantess on their products. This means if the product fails, the maufacturer will cover the costs of any needed treatment. This mainly applies to heartworm preventatives. Since many of these manufacturers do not sell their products to online pharmacies, they cannot guarantee that the medications purchased online are effective, have been handled correctly, or that it is even the correct product inside the package. For all of these reasons, the manufacturers will not extend any guarantees or warranties to purchases that are not made through a licensed veterinarian.
  • Your veterinarian knows your pet’s medical history and what medications they are taking. Many prescriptions and even non-prescription supplements can have interactions that can make your pet ill or in some cases even be fatal. Before recommending a medication or supplement for your pet , your veterinarian reviews your pet’s medical history and current medications to ensure that that it is appropriate and safe for your pet.
  • All of the products purchased here come with a person. By that I mean that if you have a question about your pet’s mediaction or it’s effects, our trained medical team is here to help you by answering questions, discussing how to effectively utilize the product, or medicating with the drug manufacturer if needed.

Visit the FDA consumers site for more information!!

3. It is often difficult to come by to pick up my pet’s medications. Is ther an easier way? 
Yes! We certainly understand that it can sometimes be difficult to come into the office to pick up medications. If you are unable to come in, dependant on the type of medications we can:

  • Mail it to your home via USPS. Being located in Goose Creek, with it’s high military population, we are very familiar with mailing medication to our clients. Most medications are shipped within the continental US for between $1 – 5.
  • Some medications can be shipped directly to your home from the distributors warehouse through our proxy service.
  • This year we will be launching our online store through our website and you will be able to order your pet’s refills on our website and have them shipped right to your door. There will even be an option for automatic refill.

We can also help with reminding you when your pet’s medications need to be refilled. Our client services team offers phone and email reminders – just let us know which you prefer and we’ll be happy to set it up for you.  You can also set up email or text reminders directly from your pet portal  or at the website offered through Novartis.

We always want to ensure that all of our patients receive their recommended medications. If you are having difficulty purchasing your pet’s medication, ask us what options are available for your pet.