Buyer Beware

The lure of inexpensive medications can sometimes be difficult to resist, but are often too good to be true.  The FDA warns that buyers should beware: some online websites offer cheap medications, but these medications may be fraudulent.

Some online pharmacies are legitimate and are licensed to sell veterinary medication, but unfortunately, there are many other online pharmacies that are not.  Online pharmacies that are not licensed have been found to sell medications that are expired, fake or contain a decreased dosage than what is stated.  The FDA warns that consumers should be especially cautious when purchasing NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) and heartworm preventatives.  Fraudulent medications can even include flea preventatives.  Even though some flea preventatives look identical to the recommended topical flea treatments have been found to include ingredients that can be toxic or contain an improper dosage.

Veterinarians require routine laboratory blood work in order to prescribe out some medications, including NSAIDs, heart medications, and thyroid medications. Laboratory testing is necessary for veterinarians to be able to determine the correct dosage necessary for the medication to be safely prescribed.  Without testing by a veterinarian, dosages may be inaccurate, and medications may cause organ damage.

Various ways to avoid giving your pet fraudulent medication include obtaining the medication from a licensed veterinarian, ordering from online pharmacies that are registered with Vet VIPPS (Veterinary Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site), or asking your veterinarian to refer you to a legitimate online pharmacy.  A legitimate online pharmacy will require a written prescription from your veterinarian.

Keep your pet safe by obtaining medication from a licensed veterinarian or licensed pharmacy.  For more information, visit the FDA’s website or call us at (858) 759-8797.