Counterfeit drugs are becoming a serious problem in veterinary medicine. With all the online and big box pharmacies, how do you know if your pet’s drugs are safe and effective? According to the FDA, here are some of the signs of a rogue online pharmacy:
- The price is too good to be true.
- The pharmacy allows drug purchase without a prescription
- There pharmacy does not have a licensed pharmacist available for questions
- The pharmacy does not have a physical address in the United States or will ship worldwide.
- The offer was made through an unsolicited email.
To combat this epidemic, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NAPB) created the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites Seal (VIPPS Seal). In my opinion, this seal is a marketing ploy. I had a VIPPS Seal national online pharmacy dispense a product to one of my clients without a valid prescription. Thank goodness, I caught the error before the pet was harmed. When I researched this issue on the Veterinary Information Network, I found that my experience was not unique.
Unfortunately, the bad drugs are not limited to online pharmacies. Several years ago, one of my clients bought insulin for her pet from a big box pharmacy because of the low cost. At the time, the insulin her pet required cost $125.00 from the veterinary clinic when the cost was only $25.00 at Walmart. Well, the pet’s sugar spiked to dangerous levels on the cheap insulin. In the end, the pet had to be hospitaled to bring his diabetes back under control. The pet almost died and the client spent over $1,000.00 to save $100.
How can you tell if the medication you received is safe and effective?
Contact the manufacturer to verify the drug. Real drugs will have a serial number and expiration date that will allow the manufacturer to track and verify the drug. IF THEY CAN’T VERIFY THE DRUG, DON’T USE IT. Please contact the FDA immediately and report the problem to protect other pets!
More info at FDA.gov.