Veterinary care for chronically ill kitties is often extremely expensive. Since kitty guardians want to be able to take excellent care of their beloved cats and give them the best quality of life, those of us who are taking care of kitties with conditions such as chronic renal failure, pancreatitis, IBD, diabetes and cancer and other long term illnesses are always on the lookout for ways to save money; especially when it comes to essential drugs and medical supplies.
Although the overhead costs in a veterinary practice are considerably higher than many people may appreciate, as far as this writer is concerned the cost of drugs and medical supplies which many veterinarians charge are often marked up to an extraordinary high price. Additionally many of the preventative medications that veterinarians sell, (such as flea control and heartworm prevention) carry a high profit-margin for the clinic.
While veterinary hospitals provide the important and necessary services which are necessary to help keep our kitties in as good health as possible, the veterinary hospital is a small business. And like any other small business they need to charge for the services they provide. Most veterinarians do love animals and they do their best to take first-rate care of their patients; they also have bills that they must pay. After all, they cannot just “give away” their services and still be able to pay for their staff and other costs.
This said when considering the high cost of drugs and medical supplies (such as fluids for hydrating cats) which most veterinary hospitals charge, it is no wonder that kitty guardians are finding that the cost of these drugs and supplies are generally far less expensive when they are purchased at a local pharmacy or an online pet pharmacy. However, most of these pharmacies do require a prescription from a licensed veterinarian for many of the drugs and medical supplies they carry.
Since keeping the cost of caring for a chronically ill kitty is crucial for kitty guardians, my heart sank when I ran across an article published on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) website titled “Prescription writing mandate is unnecessary for veterinarians”.
Although the AVMA professes that they “support policies that give our clients the flexibility to choose where they fill their prescriptions.” On the other hand, the AVMA continues,
“However, some in Congress are working to pass a federal mandate that would require veterinarians to provide a written copy of every prescription for a companion animal, whether or not the client needs or even wants it. This will place undue regulatory and administrative burdens on veterinarians and small businesses.”
The AVMA feels that the pending bill, H.R.3174 Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2015…
“which directs the Federal Trade Commission to require prescribers of animal drugs to verify prescriptions and provide copies of prescriptions to pet owners without the prescriber demanding payment for this service. Applies these requirements to medications for a domesticated household animal that consumers are not allowed to purchase without a prescription.”
The AVMA is asking practitioners to “Tell Congress to oppose mandatory prescription writing for veterinarians!” The AVMA feels that if this bill passes, it would put undue time constraints on practitioners who would have to write a prescription for any drug or medical supply.
Already in place is 38 states in the USA are mandatory laws for veterinarians to write prescriptions if the guardian requests it. Thirteen states have not passed similar laws. Some practitioners however, are charging their clients for this service for each any every prescription requested. This seems to me to defeat the purpose of guardians saving money on getting a written prescription instead of buying the drug directly from the veterinary hospital.
After all, how long does it take to write a prescription? Most online pet pharmacies will fax the practitioners the client’s request for the medication that the veterinarian is recommending. All the practitioners’ office staff has to do is to fax the pharmacy back with an OK for the prescription to be sent to the guardian.
I am certain that we all want our veterinarians to do well and thrive in their practices. At the same time we all want to be able to obtain drugs and supplies at a reasonable cost, so that we can continue to take the necessary care of our chronically ill kitties. I personally think that the AVMA is more interested in protecting their members than to make it easier for guardians to be able to continue to give their beloved cats the extraordinary care they deserve.
What are your thoughts about making it mandatory for veterinarians to write prescriptions for their clients? Tell us in a comment.