When veterinarians refer their patients to independent pharmacies, everyone can benefit

As animal lovers, veterinarians want the best for pets. So, when a health problem requires drug treatment, many veterinarians are quick to turn to independent veterinary pharmacists to fill prescriptions.

Mail order outlets like Amazon or 1800-PetMeds may be less expensive, but the personal care and monitoring that a veterinary pharmacist can provide is second to none. And pet owners often feel safer when they have a pharmacy professional available to discuss their pet’s medications and get their questions answered, which doesn’t happen when a pet parent visits a website and places an order on the Internet.

Gary Koesten, BPharm, president of Vet Pharm Consulting in Boynton Beach, Fla., noted that 80 percent of veterinary-only medications will be carried by veterinarians in their offices and they will earn revenue from their sales. For example, every veterinary office has heartworm medication to distribute to a client when they bring their dog in for a routine checkup. When pet parents are given medical prescriptions to take elsewhere, veterinarians can lose a source of revenue.

“More and more people are asking to fill their own prescriptions to go to Amazon or 1-800-PetMeds because they know they’ll save money,” Koesten said. However, going to an independent pharmacist is an even better idea, he explained, because the pharmacist’s role is to provide check and balance over what the doctor prescribes.

“Pharmacists will detect drug interactions. Pharmacists will detect dosages that may not be correct for the age or disease state of the animal,” Koesten said. “By allowing a pharmacist to fill the veterinarian’s prescriptions, checks and balances are carried out. »

Therefore, Koesten explained, it is more beneficial for the patient to take their veterinary prescription to a local pharmacy.

Small animal veterinarian Kate Boatright, VDM, believes independent pharmacists are helpful for many reasons. For example, there are medications that veterinarians don’t use regularly (those they only prescribe for certain illnesses, for example), which can result in significant overhead to store.

“If a patient comes in and needs medication, sending them to a local pharmacy will allow them to get it much quicker,” she said. “Another place where I see a lot of scripting practices is in controlled substances. It’s better than keeping them in-house.

However, Boatright believes that many patients like to get the medications from the veterinarian and not have to make an extra trip, and many veterinarians also try to provide in-house medication education. So it is not always 100% certain that a veterinarian will send someone to an independent pharmacist for veterinary care.

Lauren Forsythe, PharmD, is a veterinary pharmacist and assistant professor of social and administrative pharmacy at the University of Findlay, whose parents were both veterinarians, giving Forsythe a unique insight into both perspectives.

“I think veterinarians might send a client to a pharmacist because they might be able to get better prices,” she said. “A veterinary practice can process a bottle of a medication in 6 months, while a pharmacy can process 3 bottles a day, so you can price it more competitively. And some veterinarians want to do what’s best for their patients.

Many young people, she noted, don’t want to have to worry about the medications themselves, so they simply write a prescription and send customers to a local pharmacy, even if it represents a waste of money. profit for them.

“Another advantage for veterinarians is that they can prescribe medications that are not practical to store,” Forsythe said. “Things that they prescribe so rarely that they don’t want them to expire on their shelves. This allows them to use pharmacies so they don’t have to carry inventory that could expire. »


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