Online Pharmacy Statement

Problems with Internet Pharmacies

Here at Lake Geneva Animal Hospital, our clients always have the option of having a prescription filled at an internet pharmacy. However, in response to concerns about internet pharmacies’ safety and credibility, we will no longer work directly with any internet pharmacies. If you choose to pursue purchasing prescription medications through an internet pharmacy, we will provide you with a written prescription that you can mail to the internet pharmacy of your choice.

Because of the increasing number of internet pharmacies, we cannot determine if a specific internet pharmacy is a safe, ethical, and legal provider of medications.

Some medications sold on-line:
• are fake (counterfeit or “copycat” medications)
• are too strong or too weak
• have dangerous ingredients
• have expired
• aren’t FDA approved (haven’t been checked for safety and effectiveness)
• aren’t made using safe standards
• aren’t safe to use with other medications your pet uses
• aren’t labeled, stored, or shipped correctly
• aren’t sold by websites that will protect your personal information
• aren’t sold by US state-licensed pharmacies or any pharmacies at all

Some internet pet pharmacies have been in trouble because of “Alternate Veterinarian” programs. These programs have a veterinarian working for the pharmacy who writes a prescription for your pet. These programs are illegal, because by law, your pet must have an examination in order for medication to be prescribed. As your attending veterinarian, we have a much better understanding of your pet’s medical history, other medications he or she is on, and current state of health to prescribe medications safely and appropriately.

Another problem with on-line pharmacies is that they may not be selling medications that are approved in the US. A US drug company recently sued three internet pet pharmacies for selling foreign drugs. These products may have different strengths and labeling than US products. Look closely at medication ordered from an internet pharmacy. “Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian” should be printed on the box or label. Do not use a product if it does not have this warning, or if the original seal is not present.

Tips on Using Internet Veterinary Pharmacies

Although some web sites operate legally, there are some that do not—even ones that look sophisticated and legitimate. One way to check on an internet pharmacy’s reputation is to look for the VIPPS seal of approval. VIPPS stands for Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites. It is a service of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The VIPPS website (www.nabp.net) lists qualifying on-line pharmacies.

For more information on internet veterinary pharmacies, go to:

www.avma.org/issues/prescribing/default.asp
www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2006/606_pets.html
www.fda.gov/cder/consumerinfo/buyOnlineGuide_text.htm
www.fda.gov/consumer/features/drugsonline0707.html
www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01663.html
www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01735.html

Go to www.fda.gov/buyonline/ and click on “Notify FDA about problem websites” if you have a complaint.