FDA warns pet owners of risks of Internet pharmacies
When it comes to purchasing veterinary drugs online, buyers should beware, says a top official from the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine.
In fact, in a consumer alert issued recently, Dr. Martine Hartogensis, director of FDA's Office of Surveillance and Compliance, says that while some websites selling veterinary drugs represent legitimate businesses, others do not.
In fact, FDA regulators have documented unscrupulous practices relating to the sale of unapproved and counterfeit pet drugs, dispensing of Rx drugs without a prescription and sale of expired drugs.
And while the risk is present for consumers purchasing bogus, unapproved products through foreign and domestic pharmacies, "CVM is especially concerned that pet owners are going online to buy two types of commonly used prescription veterinary drugs -- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs and heartworm preventives." Both drugs can be dangerous if given without involvement by veterinarians, Hartogensis reports.
Without a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship, she calls the practice dangerous.
The consumer alert outlines the important role veterinarians play in evaluating the need, use and safe dosages of veterinary drugs for dogs and cats.
If consumers opt to use an Internet pharmacy, FDA wants them to pick a pharmacy accredited through the Association of Boards of Pharmacy's Vet-VIPPS (Veterinary Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site) program. Outsourced prescription management services used by veterinarians offer another credible pharmacy source, FDA says.