Online Pharmacies: Friend or Foe?

You’ve seen the TV advertisements for Internet pet pharmacies – they promote the convenience of home shopping with the benefit of big savings but are they a wise option for you and your pet?

While some online pharmacies are trustworthy, most have questionable ethics and business practices. Some top online pharmacies have even been fined in several states for either unethical or illegal business practices.

Our policy regarding online pharmacies

In order for our veterinarian to approve a prescription, the law requires that we have seen your pet for a comprehensive physical exam within a year of the requested prescription date. If your pet has not been seen within the past year, we cannot approve your request for an online prescription.

Why our hospital pharmacy is your best choice


Our staff works diligently with a variety of manufacturers to find the best price and quality products and medications.


All prescription medications purchased from this hospital have been inspected and approved by the FDA, they are dosed properly and accurately, and are manufactured and packaged according to US government regulations. Unfortunately, the same may not be true for online pharmacies. When you purchase from an online pharmacy, the fact is you do not know the source of the medications.


Pharmaceutical manufacturers will only honor product guarantees when the medications are prescribed by and purchased from the pet’s veterinarian. Internet and mail-order catalogs do not qualify for these guarantees.


On a regular basis, representatives from pharmaceutical companies such as Zoetis (formerly Pfizer), Merial, and Novartis visit our office to present us with the latest data and research on their medications. In addition, our staff regularly attends veterinary conferences and seminars, and reads the latest veterinary medical journals and research papers. We stay up-to-date on the latest disease trends in our region, products and treatment protocols. Most importantly though, we have immediate and direct access to the pharmaceutical company through our representatives and have up-to-minute information about the medications you are purchasing.

Online pharmacies hurt small practices and drive up the cost of professional fees

The pharmacy is a vital and integral part of any veterinary practice. Revenue from the pharmacy allows practices to keep professional fees at a reasonable and affordable rate, purchase medical equipment, and pay for a well-trained and professional staff. When revenue from the pharmacy declines, small practices have no choice but to increase professional fees to cover the cost of doing business.

What the FDA says about online pharmacies

Below is a link to an article from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about online pet medication sales. For those of you who purchase, or are thinking about purchasing, your pet’s medications online this is definitely an article you should read first.

Purchasing Pet Drugs Online: Buyer Beware (PDF)

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