Join MVMA and AVMA in
Opposition to HR 1406; Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2011
by Jan Ginsky,
VMD, MVMA President-Elect
The Federal Trade Commission has
solicited advance input from stakeholders in the upcoming Pet
Medications Workshop they are hosting to examine competition and
consumer protection issues in the pet medication industry; the
MVMA has expressed their opinion with the attached letter,
modeled after the AVMA’s prepared statement.
https://www.avma.org/News/Issues/Documents/2012-9 AVMA Comments
to FTC - Pet Medications Workshop.pdf
The FTC will be responsible for implementation of any federal
legislation that arises from HR 1406, a bill introduced in April
2011, and will impose new rules related to veterinary
prescriptions, including requiring a veterinarian to write a
prescription for any prescribed medication, even if it will be
dispensed by the veterinarian; provide a written disclosure to
clients that the prescription may be filled elsewhere; and
verify a prescription electronically or by other means. The MVMA
leadership is strongly opposed to the Fairness to Pet Owners Act
of 2011, finding it contrary to good patient care and patient
The October 2nd workshop in Washington DC is open to the general
public, with no requirements for preregistration. Maryland
veterinarians may wish to attend this public hearing or listen
to the live podcast.
Further details are available here.
Re: Pet Medications Workshop, Project No. P12–1201
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing on behalf of the Maryland Veterinary Medical
Association, representing veterinarians and veterinary
technicians throughout the state of Maryland. We want to express
our concerns over the proposed legislation, HR 1406, that would
mandate prescription writing by veterinarians. We believe such a
mandate would present risks to
the health and welfare of our patients.
Veterinarians are trained to understand the physiology of a
multitude of species, and the pharmacology associated with each
species. Pharmacists have not received the training necessary to
understand the multispecies complexities. We frequently hear of
cases where a drug, or a dose, is changed by a pharmacist
without consulting with or informing the prescribing
veterinarian. Not all drugs can be used in all species, and
doses can vary greatly between species. The wrong drug or the
wrong dose given can prove anywhere from ineffective to
dangerous for veterinary patients.
Most veterinary clinics maintain on-site animal pharmacies,
allowing veterinarians to immediately address the needs of the
patient. This also affords veterinarians the opportunity to
thoroughly explain the medication; from administration (which is
often demonstrated), to possible side effects. When a pet owner
opts to take a prescription elsewhere, treatment is often
delayed, or the prescription may never be filled and the
veterinarian never told, complicating future follow-up and
treatment. Mandatory prescription writing would encourage the
pet-owner to look elsewhere, thereby increasing the frequency of
these issues. In addition, a pharmacist has neither the ability
nor facilities to coach a pet owner on administration of the
drug to the species in question, leading to misuse of products
and an additional risk to the patients’ health.
Many, if not most, of the pet drugs are sold directly by the
manufacturer only to facilities with a licensed veterinarian
with the understanding of a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient
relationship for the use of the drug. Online and retail
pharmacies obtain these products through third channel parties,
opening the possibilities of mishandled, foreign, out-of-date
and/or counterfeit products, putting our patients’ health and
welfare at risk.
Where does the liability fall? Considering the (often times)
unknown source of animal drugs at outside pharmacies, and the
fact that prescriptions are often changed without the
veterinarians knowledge or approval, who would be held liable
when things go wrong? If prescriptions were mandated,
veterinarians should be allowed to have the client sign a waiver
of responsibility when a client chooses to purchase the drugs
outside a veterinary clinic, as a form of minimal protection.
A final concern is the financial repercussions of requiring a
script to be written for every drug a veterinarian prescribes.
The paperwork involved would require increased time, manpower,
and resources for the veterinary clinic. Such an increase in
expenses would lead to the need to increase fees elsewhere, and
the perceived or possible savings to the client by buying
elsewhere would be lost.
In conclusion, the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association
believes that HR 1406, and its mandates, would be detrimental to
veterinary practices and pet owners, and would put the
veterinary patients’ health at risk.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Members of the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association
The original text of the bill is provided in this link:
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Links from this article
AVMA's Prepared Statement
October 2 Workshop
Original Text of HR 1406