Fairness To Pet Owners Act

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Our federal government is looking closely at veterinarians at the moment, specifically at dispensing drugs. THere's a bill in Congress (H.R. 1406 Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2011) that would impose new stipulations on veterinary prescriptions. If it passes, your veterinarian would have to write a prescription for the drug he (or she) prescribes, whether he actually sells it to you or not. If the vet is selling you the drug, it makes no sense for him to write a prescription for you to then hand back to him when you buy the medicine. it's wasteful.

If you want a prescription so you can shop around for the best price on the drug, I understand. There are a number of reputable equine pharmacies around, including Dover Saddlery and SmartPak.? And, certainly, your veterinarian?s wholesale buying power is limited compared to these big companies, so you probably can get a better price on a drug. (Walmart is a huge supporter of this bill.)

Few reputable veterinarians will refuse to write a prescription if you request one.? that's not how they make their real money. My vet actually suggests I purchase the initial dose from him and then shop for a better price!

A veterinarian?s actual profit on selling drugs is relatively small, but the work associated with it is not. Most vets carry drugs because they have to (try walking into your local Walmart now with a prescription for Prascend). If your vet didn't carry the drugs, your ill horse would have to wait longer to get the medication. it's customer service.

The bill will also stop veterinarians from charging to write a prescription for a drug they just prescribed. As We've said many times over the years, no veterinarian should charge you for writing a prescription for an ailment they just diagnosed.? it's unethical. If our vet did that, we'd find a new one.

OK, so the bill isn?t bad, but it's wasteful. And guess who will end up paying for the waste'

The bill will also require veterinarians to verify a prescription electronically, which means more time, headaches and technology. How is a one-veterinarian practice supposed to police so many available pharmacies' (Dr. Grant Miller discusses the risks with Internet pharmacies on page 11.)

I've heard that the bill has a slim chance of passing, but it's worrisome nevertheless. it's a wasteful burden on our veterinarians that won?t truly help the consumer. Veterinarians will be forced to raise their fees to cover the additional time and expense required to comply with the bill?s provisions. That means bigger vet bills for us. If Congress wants to protect animals and consumers, it should go after the illegal pharmacies, not the veterinarian prescribing the medication.