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Help Make Pet Meds More Affordable!

Monday, September 17, 2012 - 9:15am
sad looking puppy resting on someone's shoulder

Guest blog by ASPCA Regulatory Affairs Manager Deborah Press

Our pets are family, and when they get sick we want to make sure they get the best care possible. We rely on the wonderful vets in our communities to keep our pets healthy and ease their suffering. But for many pet parents struggling to keep their animals healthy in this tough economy, the costs can often be overwhelming—even impossible to afford.

 In 2011, Americans spent nearly $7 billion for prescription and over-the-counter pet medications.  Though purchasing meds from the vet is convenient, in some cases pet parents can save money by filling pets’ prescriptions at their local retail pharmacies. For many pet lovers struggling to keep their animals healthy in a tough economy, being able to fill prescriptions at the lowest cost could mean the difference between being able to afford the medicine—or even being able to afford keeping the pet—or not.

Most vets are happy to write prescriptions for their clients to fill anywhere they choose, but others may not be. We think pet parents deserve the freedom to comparison-shop for pet meds, but to do that, they need a copy of their animals’ prescriptions.

Here’s where you come in.

Take Action

The Federal Trade Commission wants to hear from you! The FTC wants to understand how to make prescription pet medications more affordable to consumers. They want to know how much you’re spending on pet meds, where you’re buying them, and whether a law requiring vets to give you a prescription to fill wherever you choose would help make pet care more affordable and accessible to you and your animals.

Tell FTC that for the sake of cost and convenience, you would like to have the option of receiving a written prescription from your vet that you could fill wherever you choose.

In addition, please tell them:

  • How much you spend on prescription pet meds
  • Where you buy your pet meds—at the vet or at a pharmacy?
  • What you like/dislike about filling your pet’s prescriptions with the vet as opposed to a pharmacy where you’d fill your own prescriptions

Please note: FTC is accepting comments beyond the September 14th deadline and wants to hear from you!

Submit your comments TODAY—scroll to the bottom of the page and type your comments in the box.

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It wasn't until my dog got bone cancer that I started to take notice of how much meds can cost. He tried 2 bisphosphonate treatments, Pamidronate which was $300+ and Zoledronate which was $1100+ (to be given on a monthly basis). I would have paid whatever it took but good lord! How much does it really take for the drug companies to make a product? For the record, neither of the bisphosphonates helped to relieve his pain. And then there were his daily meds, 4 different pain killers, the most expensive of which (Metacam) cost about $75. At first I was getting the meds from the vet. Little did I know, the bulk of the charge that you pay the vet is a dispensing fee. The actual medication (e.g. Tramadol)costs next to nothing. The problem was the vet didn't expect my dog to live for very long so she'd only write the prescription for very few tablets. This was frustrating as I ended up paying a $30+ dispensing fee every week or so. I was able to get a prescription for the other meds that I took to a people pharmacy to fill. That was a more economical way to go. I understand that vets and drug companies need to make a profit but I wish they would consider taking a little less.

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