Prescriptions – From Your Vet, Pharmacy or On-line?
At some point in its life, your pet will undoubtedly need a prescription to treat some ailment or illness.
Many medications that house pets use are human drugs and as such can be obtained not only through your veterinarian but at your own pharmacy. In addition, there are a growing number of Veterinary pharmacies that sell their products on-line.
Is it worth shopping around for medications elsewhere?
There are several factors to bear in mind if considering getting your pets meds from somewhere other than your veterinary clinic.
Firstly, is this prescription a pet-only medication? Most meds for ear and eye issues are not the same for animals and humans. Various drugs for heart, respiratory and liver/kidney function can be found at your human pharmacy.
Second – is this a one-time treatment (antibiotics, ear or eye infection)? or will this be an on-going item (pain medication, heart, liver or kidney drug)? If a one-time prescription you are most likely better to purchase from your own veterinarian. This is because your veterinarian will need to write a prescription for a human pharmacy or for an on-line pharmacy for them to accept it. There is a fee for this service, generally costing anywhere from $20 to $50. There will be no savings on a “one-shot” medication as the medication dispensing fee will be undoubtedly less than the fee to write you a prescription.
However, if this is going to be a long-term regimen of treatment of the same medication, you may wish to see if it will be worthwhile obtaining from your own pharmacy or an on-line service.
When multiple prescriptions are required, remember your will most likely be required to pay a separate prescription fee for each prescription. This is due to the fact that your veterinarian has already spent time researching the necessary drug(s) and they have to be converted to something available in the appropriate dose at a human pharmacy, or elsewhere for your specific pets weight, age and breed.
In addition to any fees your veterinarian charges, you will need to find out which other fees (processing, dispensing, shipping, brokerage, etc) will be added (if any) from an alternative source.
It is also prudent to recognize the fact that some medications may need to have their dose changed, or be replaced altogether in the future as your pets’ condition changes. This in turn will have costs associated with it in various forms. Many veterinary clinics will keep costs to a minimum if you are following their recommendations and using their pharmacy service as they are in control of the ordering, stocking and dispensing of the medications.