Pets have come out of their dog houses and cat shelters to become members of families. Pet care is a million-dollar industry with pet products selling like hot cakes everywhere. In fact, silly-cat videos and funny-dog pictures are used in online viral campaigns to advertise products. Pets are all indeed over the United States. Pet medications can be a cause for worry if your Fido or Fifi is on prescription drugs or needs other medications like flea preventatives, antibiotics, heart worm disease preventatives etc. Some people resort to buying pet medications online in order to save money. Though this is a good idea, you need to be as careful with buying pet medications online. This is because there are numerous online pet pharmacies that sell counterfeit or expired drugs that can be harmful to your pet. Below are a few tips to safeguard your pet from counterfeit pet pharmacies:
1. Consult your Vet: This is the MOST important step. If you think you can do with your medication buying skills, you can go wrong. If your pet is important to you, consult your Veterinarian and get a prescription before buying any drug online.
2. Choose a FDA-regulated pharmacy: Pet pharmacies are growing in number, thanks to the large number of people willing to buy pet medications online. Remember, not all pet pharmacies are FDA-regulated. Some are just fake pharmacies with people who have no veterinary knowledge. Such pharmacies can ship you the wrong medication or sell counterfeit drugs. So, choose online pet pharmacies that are licensed by their respective states.
3. Look for Vet-VIPPS seal: This is the safest way out. Look for the National Association of Board of Pharmacies’ (NABP) Vet-VIPPS seal on the site of the pet pharmacy. The Vet-VIPPS is a program launched by the NABP in 2009 to regulate and accredit pet pharmacies that are in compliance with the FDA and NABP standards. Vet-VIPPS means Veterinary Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site. Sites with the Vet-VIPPS seals are checked and approved for several criteria including patient’s rights to privacy, authentication, security of prescription orders, adherence to recognized quality policy and provision of meaningful consultation between clients and pharmacists. Check if the Vet-VIPPS seal is hyper linked to the NABP’s Vet-VIPPS page.
4. Does your pet pharmacy require prescription? This is another way to find out your pet pharmacy’s authenticity. If it demands no prescription from your end, understand that it is fake. Because, like human medications, pet medications can be sold online only after the patient or owner submits the prescription to the pharmacy. If your online pet pharmacy bypasses this step, for sure, it is a counterfeit pharmacy that does not operate by FDA standards.
5. Beware of Foreign Pharmacies: Pet medications are not cheap as human medications even when sold online. So, you may be inclined to buy from foreign pet pharmacies that offer drugs at cheaper rates. Before your do so, check if the pharmacy is licensed from the state or government of the country in which it is located. This is because the FDA has no control over foreign pet pharmacies.
6. Ask your Vet for consultation: If the pharmacy’s in-house veterinarian or pharmacist suggests a generic medicine as a replacement to a brand-name drug, don’t take it to readily. That particular generic may be harmful to your pet’s body condition (if it is already on prescription drugs). So, call up your Vet before you buy pet medications that are not on your Vet’s prescription.