Online Pet Medications
These days, a quick Internet search reveals literally hundreds of online pet pharmacies. Most of them promise unbelievably low prices, high-quality medications, and speedy delivery times.
That all sounds great, but getting your pet’s medications from unproven sources can be very risky. Some so-called online pharmacies are actually facades for illegal organizations that play fast and loose with safety regulations. The drugs the offer may be expired, mislabeled, incorrectly compounded, or contaminated. The “medications” you receive may not even contain the drugs they’re purported to.
The result of dealing with these disreputable fly-by-night organizations can be disastrous. Your pet could be injured or even killed.
Of course, other online pharmacies are bona fide, conscientious organizations devoted to offering quality pet medications at reasonable prices, but how can you tell which of these online pharmacies are reputable, and which you’re better off avoiding?
Check the Certifications of Online Pet Pharmacies
Checking and verifying an online pharmacy’s certifications is one step you can take to ensure that you’re actually getting what you pay for, and protecting the health of your animals.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has certification known as Vet-VIPPS. This accreditation is reserved for online pharmacies that comply with a strict set of criteria related to customer privacy, security, and quality assurance.
The NABP’s e-Advertiser Approval program provides another important safeguard for consumers and their pets. It’s designed to verify the validity and safety of limited pharmacy services that advertise online, a category that encompasses many online pet medication services.
Reputable online pharmacies are also licensed by the State Boards of Pharmacy in their home areas. If you can’t find any information about state board certification, beware.
It’s also a good idea to check the business’s status with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB caries ratings for all types of businesses, and an A+ rating is a sign that a company operates ethically and legally, and that it treats its customers well.
Read the Reviews on Online Pet Pharmacies
Online reviews can be another source of valuable information about online pet pharmacies. If the reviews are mostly positive, it’s generally a good indication that the business is on the up-and-up.
Check With Your Veterinarian
Your veterinarian works with animal medications on a daily basis, so he or she may be able to provide you with valuable insight into the legitimacy of online merchants of pet medication.
The bottom line: if your favorite veterinarian trusts an online pharmacy with the health of their animal patients, it’s probably a safe bet. But always due your diligence.
Watch for Warning Signs
It’s not always possible to tell when you’re being deceived by a questionable online pet pharmacy, but there are some red flags to watch out for, including:
- No On-Staff Pharmacist
Reputable pet pharmacies should have licensed pharmacists on staff to assist you if you have any questions.
- No Contact Information
If the “order” button is the only way to contact an online pet pharmacy, that’s a bad sign. What if your pet has a bad reaction, or you need to return your order?
- Prices Are Too Low
Everybody likes a good bargain, but if a website’s prices seem too good to be true, then they probably are. It’s far better to pay a reasonable price for quality medications than to get an unbelievable bargain on drugs of questionable quality and legitimacy.
Author: Giano Panzarella