Most veterinarians maintain a well stocked pharmacy to provide on-site medications for their patients. These medications are purchased directly from reputable distributors and you can trust that they have been handled and stored properly.
A number of on-line pharmacies are available as alternatives to pet owners. Some of these pharmacies spend millions of dollars in advertising to capture the veterinary pharmacy market. Be careful when using an on-line pharmacy. There is a large “grey market” where on-line pharmacies purchase medications through alternative sources and then resell them on the internet. This practice falls into a legal grey zone.
Another source of medications for some on-line pharmacies is re-importation from other countries. Again, this falls into a legal grey zone. There are concerns that this practice will increase the likelihood that counterfeit medications will be sold.
Some of the large veterinary drug manufacturers (such as Merial who produces HEARTGARD Plus®) will not sell directly to many on-line pharmacies. Since there are not always assurances that medications have been stored and handled properly and are not counterfeit, manufacturers may not honor their guarantee if the medication was purchased on-line.
If you choose to use an on-line pharmacy the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends making sure it’s a VIPPS-accredited pharmacy. (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) To check accreditation, go to www.nabp.net.
Veterinarians try to make their pharmacy products as competitively priced as possible. Often when prices are compared your veterinarian’s prices are the same or only slightly more than those seen on-line. Isn’t it worth a few dollars extra for the peace of mind to know that your pet’s medications are coming from a trusted source who will be there for you if there is ever any problem?