AVMA Guidelines on
The following recommendations are
offered as a guide to prescribing and client purchases:
Drug therapy, when medically
indicated, should be initiated by the attending veterinarian
in the context of veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
Clients that wish to purchase their prescription drugs from
a pharmacy rather than the veterinarian should be advised to
first obtain a prescription from their veterinarian before
contacting a pharmacy. The veterinarian may choose to either
issue the prescription in writing for the client, or contact
the pharmacy electronically or by phone.
Drugs may be dispensed or
prescribed. Veterinarians should honor client requests to
prescribe rather than dispense a drug (AVMA Principles of
Veterinary Medical Ethics). The client has the option of
filling a prescription at any pharmacy.
One factor in evaluating the
quality of an Internet pharmacy is accreditation by a
recognized organization such as the National Association of
Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). The NABP has developed the Vet-VIPPS
program designed to ensure that Internet pharmacies that
sell veterinary drugs are properly licensed and meet other
program requirements. Further information is available at
Veterinarians asked by
pharmacies to approve prescriptions they have not initiated
should do so only if the prescription is appropriate and a
veterinarian-client-patient relationship exists.
It is within the veterinarian’s
(not the pharmacy’s) purview to determine the medical
criteria whereby a drug is indicated.
As with any prescription, a
written record should be maintained.
Prescribing veterinarians should
ensure that information regarding the proper use of the
prescribed drug and the risks associated with its use are
communicated to the client, regardless of the drug source.
If a client asks about obtaining
drugs from a foreign country through an Internet source they
should be aware that the importation and use of drugs not
approved by the FDA is illegal.
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Choosing an Internet Pharmacy