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"Don't buy pet medication online, it's unsafe" -- ??

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  • "Don't buy pet medication online, it's unsafe" -- ??

    One of the dog owners in my Cavalier playgroup is also a vet tech. Last night she got riled up at another owner who said she was going to look for places online to order her dog's heartworm prevention since her vet was out of stock in the size formula her dog needs. She said that it is unsafe to purchase any kind of pet medication (both non- and prescription meds) online because you don't know where it came from and if it's safe or not, since animal hospitals and online pharmacies do not get their stock from the same manufacturers. She also said several times that "most vets" will not approve scripts for online orders because they are unsafe.

    News to me... I've always ordered my horse and dog medications online. I've never had an issue with my small animal or equine vets approving it either (my equine vets actually suggest it since it's more affordable). All of the medications I purchase are name brand, so I'm not understanding how the safety could be questionable or the manufacturer would be different?

    Am I totally out of the loop on this one?
    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

  • #2
    She is technically correct. Some less than honorable sellers buy black market Flea and Tick stuff and sell it as if it's the real deal. IE... Fake Frontline.

    I have recently found the perfect and affordable answer.

    Rood & Riddle now has an online pharmacy!!

    I am ecstatic with their great service and prices!!


    Plus I know they only get the real drugs.

    I would suggest looking there if you need anything.

    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


    • #3
      I buy my wormers off Ebay in bulk. I get them for $3-4 piece versus the$12-15 at local tack stores.
      I ALWAYS buy names I know and in original packaging from Ebay stores that have 98% Positive feedback with over 1000 in sales.
      And I make sure to ask the expiry dates if not listed.

      I don't see a problem with it if your are careful. I see the person's point but as long as you proceed with caution I think it is a great way to save.


      • #4
        The only online places I have bought pet meds from are Smartpak and Fosters & Smith - no place else. I've heard too many stories of "fake" drugs being available via online websites though they are marketed as the real thing. Not worth the risk. I do get my dog's heartworm and flea/tick stuff from my horse vet now (I get a discount so it's cheaper than anywhere else). But Smartpak and Fosters & Smith are the only two places I'd use if I can't get it from my horse vet...
        "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


        • #5
          A long time ago I had my Irish Wollfhounds on Revolution. It was very expensive (think 200 pound dog, multiply by two!). I found it online and asked my vet to send an Rx to them so I could buy. He was reluctant until he heard the price. He couldn't even get that good a price for it ! He promised me that from then on, I would get my Revolution at the online price, but get it from him. We did the same with Bute Paste as well. Unless the vet has a very large practice, chances are he buys from a supplier as well. Just make sure that supplier is reputable.
          "I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."


          • #6
            When I needed Previcox for my dog, my vet recommended using an online pharmacy. He doesn't even carry it in a 30 or 60 day dose. He cheerfully authorizes the Rx. That said, I wouldn't buy prescription or non prescription drugs from an online company I didn't know.
            Mystic Owl Sporthorses


            • #7
              I used to order my Anvantix, and before that Frontline from Jeffers, when they had free shipping. The funny thing is that it only saved me a trip to the next town, because I lived about 20 miles away. There are many legitimate prescription suppliers out there.

              However, there are other less than reputable pet medication providers who have changed their names several times, and still advertise how good they are. Some vets also charge you for writing a script for other suppliers, and that could cancel out the savings.

              A long time ago a co-worker was calling every pharmacy in town for a script for her Afghan hound. She found the right people pharmacy, at the right price, and about a week later another co-worker was asking her which pharmacy she was using, because Suzi had a rather expensive prescription to be filled. We all almost died laughing when it turned out to be the same antibiotic, the same dosage, and all of her research was already done for her.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


              • #8
                If you do use an online pet pharmacy, be sure to use one that's VIPPS certified.
                Life-long horse lover, dreaming of the day when I have one of my very own.


                • #9
                  My vet is one that won't give me a script, and he also is very negative about vaccinations purchased at say the farm stores and self administered. His rationale is that the farm stores have less control over the product and keep it longer, sometimes past it's shelf life.
                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                  Incredible Invisible


                  • #10
                    The meds from the online pharmacies are diverted products. Meaning that they were purchased by vets from the drug manufacturers and then resold to the online pharm. The practice is not presently illegal. The problem is that when you buy a drug online, you have no assurance that that drug was properly handled or stored. When my clinic gets a shipment in and it is not at correct temperature, it gets sent back. Not so critical for a product like Frontline, but absolutely critical for a product like ProZinc insulin. Drug manufacturers are starting to fight this practice by incorporating "track and trace" technology into the packaging. When they find vets are diverting, they will cut them off. I recently had an interesting talk with the vet from Luitpold about Adequan. I ordered it online because my vet is 45 minutes away from my farm. She verified that Luitpold only sells to vets and yes, my product was diverted. By the way, Adequan has to be stored within a certain temp range and mine was shipped without any packaging to maintain temp. She had not had any reports of counterfeit Adequan, but how would they know? Someone would have to be willing to lose money by sending in a dose for analysis. Much better to purchase from the vet. Ironically, my vet clinic usually sells meds cheaper than the online pharmacies. People just make assumptions without checking.


                    • #11
                      My vet said buying from 1800 pet meds was dangerous. Apparently they had somebody buy from there, the dog got sick, came to find out that it was because of the off brand meds they were buying. Who knows if that is true or not. But I don't buy any of my dog's meds online anyways.
                      http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
                      The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
                      Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
                      Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding


                      • #12
                        Oh, please. That's a load of crap. I buy EVERYTHING online. All my heartwormers and broad-spectrum wormers come from PetsMegastore in Australia. I've bought from them for 13 years. The generics are manufactured by the SAME PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES as the name brands. I bought previous old dog's Deramaxx through Valley Vet. I got generic Panacur-equivalent from Fosters and Smith for my corgi last year when she had giardia. My dogs are not sick. They do not have worms. They do not have heartworms. They are healthy, happy, parasite-free dogs. I pay $60 a year per dog.

                        The mark-ups the vets charge are obscene. It would be like you having to pay full-price for your $15-copay pharmacy prescription.
                        I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                        • #13
                          It is true that 1-800-Petmeds has had issues in the past with selling counterfeit drugs - they've faced a lot of lawsuits over these issues. They've sold 'diverted' product and got in a lot of trouble for that as well. Supposedly, they're better now, they say they're sorry, and they'll be good from now on. I wouldn't trust them as far as I could spit them, but they may actually be legit now. I don't know.

                          The suggestion to use only VIPPS certified pharmacies is a good one. Also, check with your vet - at my clinic, we have a service that allows the clients to order from the same pharmacy/manufacturers that we do, directly, and have meds shipped to your house. This makes the prices the same or lower sometimes than other online pharmacies.

                          If your vet says they don't like a certain pharmacy, there may be a reason. You should ask them about it.

                          If your vet refuses to write a Rx, know that that is illegal, and call them on it. But have a good conversation with them about where is a legitimate place to buy. There ARE bad pharmacies out there, and that goes for human medications as well. Remember the compounding pharmacy scandal that resulted in a whole bunch of human deaths from compounded steroid medication? They were terrible about following proper procedures, having a clean environment, etc. It wasn't just some fluke accident.

                          So sure, lots of vets have a markup on their inventory to cover the overhead for the business. They can't stay open at all without charging for something. So its either going to be for goods, or for services. But the pharmacy problem is real.


                          • #14
                            BS, where do they think the vets get THEIR stuff? Just buy from reputable long time companies. If you haven't heard of it, google it, see what you find out.
                            Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                            Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                            • Original Poster

                              I purchase my medications through SmartPak (which is listed as being VIPPS certified). I certainly understand how medications purchased through sketchy sites could end up being counterfeit, but that's really internet purchasing common sense in general. I told this girl that I purchased from SmartPak and she held fast that NO internet purchases of medications were safe. TBH I think I was more bothered by the insinuation that our vets were sub-par since they provided scripts for online purchases.
                              "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
                                She is technically correct. Some less than honorable sellers buy black market Flea and Tick stuff and sell it as if it's the real deal. IE... Fake Frontline.

                                I have recently found the perfect and affordable answer.

                                Rood & Riddle now has an online pharmacy!!

                                I am ecstatic with their great service and prices!!


                                Plus I know they only get the real drugs.

                                I would suggest looking there if you need anything.

                                Xctrygirl, Thank you very much for the info on the Rood and Riddle on line pharmacy.

                                I recently had this conversation with my vet when I asked for prescription for some vaccines. When I was checking prices for 2 different vaccines for 9 horses, the best price I found was at KV Vet Supply BUT if I ordered more than 11 needles I needed a vet prescription if shipped to NY. So, my vet was just out and I asked her and her response was no because that it was part of their business. I explained that if I could save a little $ on something I could do (an IM injection) then I didn't have any qualms about spending the $ on a call for which I was currently having her come. I then mentioned I was getting Fort Dodge vaccines and she replied that FD went out of business yrs ago. I wasn't going to argue with her that Pfizer had taken over the name. Honestly, I felt it was something she should have been aware of in the first place.

                                If the topic comes up again, I will remind the vet practice that 2 yrs ago when one of the horses I take care of had cellulitis, the new vet in the practice made sure to give me not only a paper showing where to give IM shots but showed me as well on the horse. Also, they have sold me meds to be given IM. So if they are showing me how to give shots (which I've done for 50 yrs) and dispensing meds, needles and syringes, they shouldn't have a problem with my request for a presciption. In the past there has never been a problem when I asked for script(Banamine)for something they sold because I could get it more reasonably through the catalogs.

                                BTW, Since I couldn't get the script I went to the next best catalog price(Valley Vet). Then after reading this post, I went to the Rood and Riddle site, priced the vaccines (Fort Dodge) and they were over $40 less than from the catalog I was planning on ordering. I just need to find out how much shipping and the insulated container will add to the cost but I hope not the $40+ difference.

                                I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                                • #17
                                  Hey MSJ,

                                  Free shipping over $100!

                                  I got my drugs fast and huge Kudos to the R&R team for keeping me updated tt my very was not responding to their faxes.. They kept after my vets and finally after the 4th time faxing got a girl to verify over the phone that they had received it. I called and adamantly told my vets to please sign this faced form so I could get my drugs. They did, after 2 more calls that day. R&R were great. Love them!
                                  "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


                                  • #18
                                    Xctrygirl, unfortunately the free shipping over $100 doesn't apply to the vaccines but I'm hoping it's not over the $40+ difference between Valley Vet and RR.

                                    I'm benchmarking their website, right next to COTH!

                                    I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Guin View Post
                                      The mark-ups the vets charge are obscene. It would be like you having to pay full-price for your $15-copay pharmacy prescription.
                                      LOL,for the past year and a half my clinic has sold Trifexis and Iverhart Plus/Max for less than what Foster & Smith and 1 800 PetMeds charge. The onlines also have "obscene" markups. When you purchase from a vet clinic you also can get the manufacturer product rebates which drop the price even further. Trifexis is running one right now.


                                      • #20
                                        Those are good points about handling and expiration dates, but if you're buying from a reputable third party (Smartpak or any other VIPPS certified vendor), there isn't anything inherently dangerous about it. The expiration date is printed on the packaging so it would be easy to check that.

                                        I don't buy that "animal hospitals and online pharmacies do not get their stock from the same manufacturers." Especially since the good online pharmacies carry the same name brands - in the same packaging!

                                        I don't know, it sounds like she's either pressuring others to buy from clinics because she benefits or maybe she's mad that she had never thought to look for better prices and availability online.