Is Buying Pet Medicines Online a Good Idea?
It's no secret that buying things online tends to be cheaper than buying them from a business with physical outlets. Online businesses are just cheaper to run than traditional shops, and these savings are reflected in their prices.
Pet medicines, along with their human counterparts, are becoming an increasingly prominent feature in the wide range of things that may be bought over the internet. A number of online pharmacies are offering a wide range of medicines at unmistakably cheaper prices than those offered by their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Both branded and generic medicines can be found on offer in these online stores. But is buying this kind of thing over the internet actually a good idea?
Safety and Legitimacy
One concern many people have over buying pet medication online is whether the items they purchase at bargain prices are genuine, legitimate and safe. Until just a few years ago this was a very real concern indeed, as the online veterinary pharmaceutical market was pretty much entirely unregulated. In 2011, however, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) rolled out a new inspection and approval scheme. Approved websites should display an emblem which shows they have been inspected by the VMD, and verifies that the products they sell are indeed legitimate.
If you do buy pet medicines online like Drontal, Metacam and Vetmedin, you should actively check that the vendor has indeed been approved by the VMD. You should stick to outlets that have this approval, no matter how attractive the prices of unapproved outlets may be. That way, you know that the medicine you give your pet will be genuine and safe. From an unapproved outlet, you don't really know what you are getting. The medicine could be entirely genuine - but it could also be ineffective or potentially even harmful.
Online pharmacies can also sell prescription-only pet medicines, but it is important when buying these products to take the cost of first obtaining a prescription into account. Traditionally, the cost of the prescription has been included in the price tag of the medicine as sold by your vet, and this is one of the reasons that online prescription medicines are cheaper. If you want to just obtain a prescription and then buy medicines elsewhere, you will still have to pay your vet to write out that prescription and this will add to the overall cost of buying the medicines online and may cancel out any savings you would have made.
It is difficult to predict what the cost of obtaining this prescription will be, as there are no clear guidelines and costs are set by individual practices. Obviously you can't expect your vet to help you work out whether it would be cheaper to buy the products they offer elsewhere, so you will have to do your own research in order to get an idea of whether it will be cheaper to simply buy from your vet or whether there are still savings to be made online.