Hunterdon Hills Animal Hospital Prescription Medicine Information and Policies
At Hunterdon Hills Animal Hospital, we take pride in being your furry family members’ doctors and see our role as an integral part in providing healthcare to your pet. The primary focus of our practice is centered on offering a professional level of high quality medical, surgical and dental care. In addition to these professional services, we do stock numerous forms of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and products for your pets.
We carry these medicines in our practice primarily for two reasons: (1) Many items are animal specific formulations or for animal only usage – often these products aren’t carried locally by traditional brick and mortar pharmacies, and (2) there is a convenience in having items readily available onsite rather than sending our clients to another location just to sit and wait for prescriptions to be filled elsewhere.
We do partner with our newly approved and credentialed online pharmacy, Vets First Choice. They carry the full line of medication we use in this hospital and prescribe, as well as the full line of special prescription foods for various medical problems. They will also compound prescribed medicines for those patients with special needs. These compounded medicines can come in a variety of forms to accommodate the needs of your pet. Just go to our website’s homepage, www.hunterdonhillsanimalhospital.com, and click on the pharmacy button, top right corner, and you’ll be taken directly to Vets First Choice. Place your refill order request and our doctors will get that request directly here at the hospital. We will then check the Rx for accuracy and sign off on it usually that day.
How reliable are Internet/Discount and Catalog Pharmacies?
Quality of product
Elanco(makers of Interceptor, Deramaxx, etc.) and several other drug manufacturers have filed lawsuits against numerous internet pharmacies for illegally selling unapproved versions of their products or for dispensing medications without a prescription. It is important to know that many internet pharmacies cannot legally obtain many of the prescription medications they sell in the United States. They do not purchase medicines directly from the manufacturer, as the manufacturer only sell their products to licensed veterinary hospitals and clinics. The internet pharmacies are forced to obtain medicines illegally through unethical veterinarians or through foreign sources. The medicine is diverted. The risk of using a foreign labelled or produced medicine is that the safety, efficacy and purity of that medicine is not under FDA or EPA regulation. Additionally, these products (sold over the internet) are frequently warehoused in unregulated storage facilities often for extended periods of time, at various temperatures and conditions not recommended by the manufacturer, and this can alter the product’s effectiveness. All the drug manufacturers have warned that any product not purchased directly from a veterinary hospital or clinic or an approved hospital online pharmacy will not be warrantied by the manufacturer.
Product warranties and guarantees
Drug manufacturers warranty and guarantee 100% product satisfaction only on products purchased exclusively through veterinary clinics and hospitals. In addition, Manufacturers’ rebates and promotions are honored only on purchases made at/through the clinic. This has numerous implications. If your pet should develop an adverse reaction or side effect to one of these medicines (when treated according to the veterinarian’s directions and the manufacturer’s recommendations), or should your pet be diagnosed with a disease or parasite that the medication (again when used as directed) should have prevented, clients who have purchased the medicine from/through the veterinary clinic will find the drug companies stand behind their product and often give full financial backing for your pet’s testing and treatment. If the pet’s problems occur when medicine is purchased from an internet pharmacy or other unapproved source, no such guarantee or financial help is available because the manufacturer cannot guarantee the products authenticity or how it was handled.
The FDA estimates that upwards of 40% of all medications dispensed through online/discount and catalog pharmacies are counterfeit, impure, out-of-date or near out-of-date, or have been stored improperly. This is a staggering number! All of these issues have a bearing on product safety and effectiveness. Imagine the number of illnesses and deaths that might be associated with these issues.
Because of the concern with online pharmacies dispensing medications without a proper prescription and concerns over drug safety, purity and effectiveness, many veterinarians have chosen to avoid writing prescriptions or authorizing them to be filled by an online source. Out of concern for your pet and the knowledge that we cannot control the safety or effectiveness of what might be sent to you from online pharmacies, the veterinarians of Hunterdon Hills Animal Hospital have chosen not to authorize prescriptions via unapproved online pharmacies.
Almost all online/discount or catalog pet pharmacies (you know who they are) are NOT manufacturer-authorized channel/distributors of the most commonly purchased heartworm and flea/tick preventative products NOR do they obtain most products directly from the manufacturer. They distribute medications obtained through third party companies (gray-market brokers) that divert these veterinary products around the intended chain of custody set aside by the manufacturers, which nullifies the warranties on these products. Pfizer-Zoetis, Bayer, Merial, Merck, Elanco and others (manufacturers of Heartgard, Deramaxx, Sentinel, Rimadyl, Frontline, Bravecto, Simparica) do not sell directly to these pharmacies, catalog companies or third party distributors.
GRAY MARKET =
If you choose to use an internet or catalog pharmacy to obtain your pet's medications, we will provide a traditional written New Jersey prescription upon request, provided that we have recently examined your pet, that its required tests are current, and that the particular medication or product requested is appropriate based on the weight and health of the animal. The time frame of "recent examination" and "current" test is at the doctor's discretion but will never exceed more than one year from your pet's last annual examination and last negative/normal test. The written prescription will be provided directly to you. You may request to pick it up or ask it be mailed to your home address. You should mail the original written prescription to the pharmacy as special security features of our written prescriptions prevent any attempt to fax copy or scan them by causing "VOID" to appear across the copied prescription, thus invalidating it.
We discourage using the discount/internet houses in any fashion. It is your responsibility
to ensure that your prescription is sent, filled, labeled, shipped and used correctly. The
discount houses, in general, have a reputation for poor customer service, and we will not
take the time to oversee their operation.
We can not become involved in any product failure issues for products purchased through these discount houses.