Federal Issue Brief

 H.R.1406, Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2011

 

PDF file View PDF version

 PDF file View bill summary and status(PDF)

AVMA Policy:

Active Pursuit of Defeat

Current Status:

H.R.1406 was introduced on April 6, 2011, by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT-2nd). It was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health.

Summary:

H.R. 1406 would impose new stipulations on veterinary prescriptions. The bill requires a veterinarian to 1) write a prescription whether or not he/she will dispense the product; 2) provide a written disclosure notifying clients that they may fill prescriptions at the veterinary clinic or at an off-site pharmacy; and 3) verify a prescription electronically or by other means consistent with applicable State law.

Additionally, a veterinarian may not:

  • Require the purchase of an animal drug for which the veterinarian has written a prescription;
  • Charge a client a fee for writing a prescription as part of (or in addition to) the fee for examination and evaluation of a pet; or,
  • Require a client to sign, or supply a client with, a waiver or liability disclaimer should the prescription be inaccurately filled by an off-site pharmacy.

Background:

Key Points in Opposition:

The AVMA has serious concerns regarding the onerous regulatory burdens a mandate like this would create and believes there is no indication that there is a need for this legislation.

  • AVMA believes H.R. 1406 is redundant and will cause undue regulatory and administrative burdens on veterinary practices. It is burdensome and unnecessary to require a written prescription be provided, as well as a written notification that the prescription may be filled elsewhere, regardless of whether or not the client is having the prescription filled by the veterinarian.
  • The provision requiring verification of prescriptions, regardless of whether the pharmacy is accredited or licensed, places the veterinarian in both a legal and ethical dilemma. At the same time, it puts consumers at risk.
  • H.R. 1406 encroaches on state jurisdiction; state pharmacy and veterinary practice laws already govern compliance by veterinarians.
  • Clients already have the flexibility to fill a prescription at their veterinary clinic or off-site at a pharmacy of their choice. The AVMA is supportive of a client's right to choose where they have their prescription filled.
  • AVMA believes that veterinarians are uniquely trained to provide the best professional guidance and education to pet owners when dispensing prescription products.

Contact:

 Dr. Ashley S. Morgan, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations Division, 202-289-3210 or use our Contact form.