In the past year, Well Pets has been overloaded with requests from illegal online pharmacies. These pharmacies may sell medications that are counterfeit, outdated, mislabeled, incorrectly formulated, or are improperly made/stored. Some medicines may not contain the actual drug or may not have the correct directions for use.
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Recently one of our Well Pets clients ordered Revolution for her cats from an online website. The medication was shipped from Australia. When she received the medication she noticed that a sticker had been placed on the box to cover the words “for dogs”. When she called the pharmacy she was told there were absolutely no returns or refunds. They refused to send her the correct medication. The dog formulation when placed on a cat can cause serious health issues. Well Pets reports ALL false pharmacies to the FDA directly.
Here are some tips to avoid illegal pharmacies:
Use the A.W.A.R.E. method
A: Ask your veterinarian
Ask your veterinarian if they have heard of the pharmacy that you are ordering from. See if they trust it or if any other clients have ordered from the same site.
W: Watch for red flags
- If the site does not require veterinary prescriptions for prescription medicines.
- If the site has no licensed pharmacist available to answer questions.
- If the site does not list physical business address, phone number, or other contact information
- If the site is not based in the United States
- If the site is not licensed by the State Board of Pharmacy where the business is based.
- If the site does not protect your personal information
- If the site ships you medicines that you didn’t order or that look different from what you pet normally takes.
A: Always check for site accreditation
Every pharmacy must have accreditation from Federal and State licensing and inspection board and prove that they have met all requirements. They must meet many requirements including protecting client confidentiality, strict quality assurance, and making sure prescription orders are valid by contacting the prescribing veterinarian.
R: Report problems and suspicious online pet pharmacies
If your pet has a problem with a medicine purchased online (for example a reaction to the medicine or the medicine is not working), first contact the medicine’s maker. To report problems directly to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) call 1-888-FDA-VETS. You can also report online on the FDA website www.fda.gov.
E: Educate yourself about online pet pharmacies
Education is the best defense you have against illegal online pet pharmacies. For more information about purchasing pet medicines, visit CVM’s website at www.fda.gov/animalveterinary or call 1-240-276-9300