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Is it safe to buy pet meds online?

by PropellerHeads
| April 18, 2010 9:00 PM

Dear PropellerHeads: I'm hoping to save a little money. Is it safe to buy my pet medicines from an online pet pharmacy?

A: Many of us are in your same shoes. We PropellerHeads love our pets ALMOST as much as we love technology, but risking Fluffy's health to save a buck ... sounds a little risky to us!

There are numerous online pet pharmacies. They claim to sell the same products you would buy from your veterinarian, but for much less money. Given the economy, it's no wonder many of us are at least considering buying from online sources.

Even the Food and Drug Administration has an opinion. For what it's worth, they say buy with caution. Take a look at http://bit.ly/2Vmcjt to see the FDA's warning on buying pet medicines from online pet pharmacies.

As with human drugs, there are counterfeits out there. They're cleverly disguised to look almost exactly like the real thing, and they could harm your pet. The FDA warns to purchase medications for your pets only from online pharmacies that are Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, or Vet-VIPPS. A listing of the pharmacies that are accredited by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is available at www.nabp.net.

So how do you go about purchasing from an online pet pharmacy? This PropellerHead has figured that out for you.

I decided to buy heartworm medicine for my beloved Woody. I did a search for heartworm medicine on a few pet pharmacy Web sites.

I chose two pharmacies for comparison. Both sites are Vet-VIPPS pharmacies. Both sites required me to enter information about my pet: breed, weight, allergies, etc., and my veterinarian's name and phone number. And as with any commerce site, I also had to enter my address and payment information.

The two sites I used were www.1800PetMeds.com and www.vetrxdirect.com. Both offer a "new customer" discount and free shipping on orders more than $39. Their prices were very similar, only $1 separated them. By comparison, the same generic heartworm medicine would have been more than $9 per dose from my veterinarian's office and was under $6 per dose online.

Immediately after placing the order, I called my veterinarian's office to let them know to expect a request for a prescription for Woody from the two sites. I also asked them to call me to report if/when the prescription was requested by the site. I wanted to make sure that I had ordered the correct dosage, and that the site wasn't filling my order without confirmation from my veterinarian.

Both sites did send a prescription request as I had hoped. Each site states that their prescriptions are 100 percent guaranteed. As with any site, there will be folks who rave about how wonderful their products and service were. And there will also be folks who feel they've been shafted by the experience.

I found both of the sites to be easy to use and navigate. They both had the product I wanted for a very good price. The prescriptions have arrived and I've inspected them to make sure they look real and haven't expired. My big old silly lab mix, Woody, was my guinea pig. He hasn't croaked yet from the experience, so more online pet medicines are in his future!

When the PropellerHeads at Data Directions aren't busy with their IT projects, they love to answer questions on business or consumer technology. E-mail them to questions@askthepropellerheads.com or contact us at Data Directions Inc., 8510 Bell Creek Road, Mechanicsville, VA 23116. Visit our Web site at www.askthepropellerheads.com.