Federal Issue Brief

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


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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.


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.


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.


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