State Summary Report

 Client request for prescriptions

Last updated November 2017

The following is a list of states that AVMA research has found with specific statutes, rules or agency policy statements addressing whether or not a veterinarian is required to provide a written prescription at the request of his or her client. Thirty-six states have adopted laws, regulations or policy statements that specifically or implicitly require veterinarians to provide their clients with a written prescription upon request in some circumstances. Some of those states do so by incorporating into their discipline standards for veterinarians the AVMA's Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, which state that veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing (Section VII-f-iii).

It's important to note that even in states not listed below, state boards of veterinary medicine could find in acting on a complaint that failure to honor a client's request for a prescription constitutes unprofessional conduct, leading to discipline against a veterinarian. Unprofessional conduct generally refers to a departure from or failure to conform to the standards of acceptable and prevailing practice of a veterinary medicine.

​State ​Cite ​Language
​Arizona Arizona Administrative Code

R3-11-801.

Notification That Prescription-only Drugs Or Controlled Substances May Be Available At A Pharmacy
​A. A dispensing veterinarian shall notify an animal owner that some prescription-only drugs and controlled substances may be available at a pharmacy by:
Stating the availability at or before the time of dispensing;
2. Posting a written statement that is visible to the animal owner; or
3. Providing the animal owner with written notification.

B. A dispensing veterinarian may provide a written, electronic, or telephonic prescription to the animal owner if requested by an animal owner.
​California Business and Professions Code

West's Ann.Cal.Bus. & Prof.Code § 4170

Prescriber Dispensing

See also California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Division 20, Sec. 2032.2
​The prescriber, prior to dispensing, must offer to give a written prescription to the patient that the patient may elect to have filled by the prescriber or by any pharmacy. The prescriber must provide the patient with written disclosure that the patient has a choice between obtaining the prescription from the dispensing prescriber or obtaining the prescription at a pharmacy of the patient's choice.
Colorado State Board of Veterinary Medicine

4 CCR 727-1
Veterinary Medicine Rules and Regulations

3.8 Prescription Drugs

Veterinarians are charged with knowledge of the pharmacy practice act provisions that apply to their practice, as well as the laws and regulations of the federal food and drug administration. When a client requests a copy of a prescription for their animal under current treatment, the veterinarian must provide it to the client.

Connecticut​ Connecticut General Statutes

C.G.S.A. 20-202

Chapter 384 Veterinary Medicine
In determining whether the holder of such license has acted with negligence, the Board may consider standards of care and guidelines published by the American Veterinary Medical Association including, but not limited to, guidelines for the use, distribution, and prescribing of prescription drugs.
Delaware​ Delaware Code

24 Del. Admin. Code CSA 8.0
​Before dispensing any controlled substance the patient must be advised that the prescription may be filled in the practitioner's office or any pharmacy.
Florida Florida Statutes, Chapter 474 Veterinary Medical Practice

474.214.

Disciplinary proceedings
​(1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which the disciplinary actions in subsection (2) may be taken:

(pp) Failing to give the owner of a patient, before dispensing any drug, a written prescription when requested.
Georgia State Board of Veterinary Medicine

Ga Comp. R, & Regs. 700-8-.01

Unprofessional Conduct
​Within the meaning of GA. Code subsection 43-50-21(a)(7), unprofessional conduct means:

(e) Prescription Drugs:
2. After a valid veterinary/client/patient relationship has been established, a veterinarian must make available, upon request, at a reasonable cost, a written prescription.
Hawaii ​Hawaii Revised Statutes

HRS 471-10.

Refusal to grant and revocation or suspension of license
​The board may revoke or suspend the license of any veterinarian or fine the licensee, or both, for any cause authorized by law, including but not limited to the following: (12) Conduct or practice contrary to the recognized principles of medical ethics of the veterinary profession as adopted by the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association. The AVMA principles provide that veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing.
Idaho​ ​Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

IDAPA 46.01.01.151

Unprofessional Conduct
​The Idaho Administrative Code adopts the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, published by the American Veterinary Medical Association and violation of such principles constitutes unprofessional conduct. These principles provide that veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing.
Illinois Illinois Compiled Statutes, 225 ILCS 115/19.2

Patient request for prescriptions
​Veterinarians shall honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing a drug when a veterinarian-client-patient relationship exists and the veterinarian has determined that the drug is medically necessary.
​Indiana Chapter 4. Practice; Discipline; Prohibitions

IC 25-38.1-4-5 25-38.1-4-5

Prescriptions written by licensed veterinarian; veterinarian-client-patient relationship requirement
​(d) If a veterinarian prescribes a drug for the client's animal, upon request, the veterinarian shall provide the prescription to the client, unless prohibited by state or federal law or to prevent inappropriate use. This requirement does not apply to livestock or an animal immunized by its owner.
Iowa​ Administrative Code, Veterinary Medicine Board

Iowa Admin. Code 811-10.6 (2)

Grounds for discipline.
​A licensed veterinarian is subject to disciplinary action for the violation of any of the following:
a. Engaging in unethical conduct which includes, but is not limited to, a violation of the standards of practice as set out in 811—Chapter 12, and which may include acts or offenses in violation of the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics. These principles provide that veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing.
Kentucky ​Kentucky Administrative Regulations

201 Ky. Admin. Regs. 16:110

Prescription and dispensation of drugs for animal use
​Section 5.(2) A veterinarian may refuse to write a prescription if it is not directly requested by a client with whom there is, in the veterinarian's opinion, a current and existing veterinarian-patient-client relationship.
Louisiana​ ​Louisiana Administrative Code

La. Admin Code. tit. 46, pt. LXXXV, 705

§705 Prescribing and Dispensing Drugs
G. Providing Prescriptions

1. A client is not obligated to purchase a prescription medication from the prescribing veterinarian. Therefore, when a veterinarian-client-patient relationship exists and a veterinarian has determined that a prescription medication will be used in a patient's treatment or preventive health plan, it shall be considered a violation of the rules of professional conduct, within the meaning of RS 37:1526(14), for a veterinarian to refuse to provide a written prescription to the client so long as the following conditions exist:
a. the veterinarian has determined that he patient's life is not endangered without the immediate administration of the prescription medication; and
b. in the veterinarian's medical opinion, the prescribed substance is medically safe for in-home administration.
Maine Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation
Office of Licensing and Registration
If the veterinarian is prescribing a medication for a patient, yes the doctor is required to provide the patient, upon request, with a written prescription.
​Maryland Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

COMAR 15.14.01.12-1

Prescriptions
​A veterinarian or employee approved by a veterinarian may transmit prescriptions that are not controlled dangerous substances from the prescriber to a pharmacy chosen by a client, and note such action in the record of the animal belonging to the client.
Massachusetts Massachusetts Board of Veterinary Medicine

Policy Statement Concerning Prescriptions(adopted in 2006)
​Upon request of the consumer, a veterinarian shall provide prescription information to a pharmacy of choice. The method of providing prescription information shall be at the discretion of the prescribing veterinarian.
Michigan ​Michigan Administrative Code

R. 338.4923

Dispensing or prescribing a prescription product; Veterinarian-client-patient relationship required
(1) If a veterinarian recommends a specific medication for a patient, the veterinarian shall honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing a prescription product.
​Mississippi ​Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine

Policy statement (adopted June 17, 1975)
​Veterinarians shall abide by the AVMA Code of Ethics as set forth in the AVMA Directory. The AVMA's Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics provide that veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing.
Missouri​ Missouri Veterinary Medical Board

20 CSR 2270-4.031 Minimum Standards for Practice Techniques
​(3) Dispensed Drug Labeling

(F) All clients shall have the right to receive a written prescription from their veterinarian to take to the pharmacy of their choice so long as a valid veterinarian-patient-client relationship exists.
Montana Montana Board of Veterinary Medicine

Mont. Admin, R. §24.225.410

Record-Keeping Standards
(o) ​If a veterinarian, based upon his or her medical opinion, is willing to dispense medication, then the veterinarian must also provide a prescription in place of said medication should the owner request a prescription. If a veterinarian, based upon his or her medical opinion, is not willing to dispense medication, then the licensee should deny a request for a prescription.
Nebraska​ Board of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery

Memorandum, March 4, 2013
​Failure to provide a prescription upon client request in appropriate circumstances could be considered unprofessional conduct, and a ground for discipline against the license.
Nevada Nevada Revised Statutes

N.R.S. §638.140

Statutory or regulatory violations
​The following acts, among others, are grounds for disciplinary action:

9. Willful failure to comply with any provision of this chapter, a regulation, subpoena or order of the Board, the standard of care established by the American Veterinary Medical Association or an order of a court;
New Hampshire ​New Hampshire Board of Veterinary Medicine

N.H. Code Admin. R. Vet 501.01

Adoption of Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics
​New Hampshire board rules require all licensed veterinarians to comply with the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, published by the American Veterinary Medical Association as revised in April 2008. These principles provide that veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing.
New Jersey​ ​New Jersey Administrative Code

N.J.A.C. 13:44-4.1 Veterinary prescription items
​(e) A licensed veterinarian, in the course of professional practice and an existing veterinarian-client-patient relationship, shall, upon request, provide a written prescription to a client who does not wish to purchase a prescription item directly from the licensed veterinarian.
New Mexico​ ​New Mexico Rules

N.M. Admin. Code 16.25.9.17 Pharmaceutical Services
​H. Veterinarians shall honor client requests to dispense and/or provide a written prescription for a drug that has been determined by the veterinarian to be appropriate for the patient.
New York​ Rules of the Board of Regents

8 NYCRR 29.1
Unprofessional Conduct
​Based on a conversation with the New York Board of Veterinary Medicine on Nov. 30, 2011, it would be considered unprofessional conduct for a veterinarian not to provide a written prescription to his or her client upon request. It would be a violation of section 29.1(b)(2) which states that unprofessional conduct includes exercising undue influence on the patient or client, including the promotion of the sale of services, goods, appliances or drugs in such a manner as to exploit the patient or client for the financial gain of the practitioner or of a third party.
North Carolina ​North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board Statement, website If a veterinarian, based upon his or her medical opinion, is willing to dispense medication, then they (veterinarians) must also provide a prescription, in place of said medication, should the owner request a prescription. If a veterinarian, based upon his or her medical opinion, is not be willing to dispense medication, than it would also be appropriate to deny a request for a prescription.
​North Dakota ​North Dakota Administrative Code: Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

NDAC 87-04-01-02

Prescription drugs-Records-Labeling-Dispensing
4. ​After a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship has been established, a veterinarian shall make available, upon request, and may assess a reasonable cost for, a prescription for a drug that has been determined by the veterinarian to be appropriate for the patient.
Oklahoma​ Oklahoma Statutes

59 Okl. St. Ann. 354

Prescription as property right of patient – Duty to provide reference copies and transfer prescriptions
​C. No licensed practitioner shall refuse to honor the request of his or her patient to have his or her prescription transferred to the licensed pharmacist or licensed pharmacy of the patient's choice.
Oregon​ Oregon Administrative Code

875-015-0030 (6)(e)

Minimum Veterinary Practice Standards
​If requested, a prescription shall be provided to a client for medications prescribed by the veterinarian under a valid VCPR.

Temporary Action which expires on June 9, 2017.
Rhode Island Rules and Regulations for the Licensure of Veterinarians

R.I. Admin. Code 31-5-6:10.6

Record of Animals Receiving Veterinary Services
​Any veterinarian licensed in the state of Rhode Island who writes a prescription for an animal patient shall provide a copy of that prescription to the owner of the animal patient, upon request of the owner, for the purpose of filling the prescription with a licensed pharmacy.
South Carolina​ South Carolina Code of Regulations

S.C. Code of Regulations R. 120-8

Practice Standards for Licensed Veterinarians
​Licensed veterinarians shall comply with the American Veterinary Medical Association Code of Professional Ethics.
South Dakota Veterinary Medical Examining Board policy ​Policy based on AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics provision that veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing.
Tennessee Position Statement, Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

Adopted December 9, 2014
​It is a violation of Rule 1730-01-.13 for a veterinarian to refuse to honor a client's request to prescribe, rather than dispense, a drug (AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics). The client has the option of filling a prescription at any pharmacy.

Veterinarians asked by pharmacies to approve prescriptions they have not initiated should do so only if the prescription is appropriate and a veterinarian-client-patient relationship exists. It is within the veterinarian's (not the pharmacy's) purview to determine the medical criteria whereby a drug is indicated. It is not unethical for a veterinarian to charge a reasonable professional fee for a prescription.
Utah​ ​Utah Administrative Code

Rule R156-28-502

Unprofessional conduct
​Unprofessional conduct includes failing to conform to the generally accepted and recognized standards and ethics of the profession including those established in the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the American Veterinarian Medical Association. These principles provide that veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing.
Vermont​ ​Board of Veterinary Medicine

Vt. Admin Code 20-4-2000:3

3.5 Professional Standards
​(a) Licensed veterinarians and applicants are subject to discipline for unprofessional conduct as defined by 26 V.S.A. § 2431 and 3 V.S.A. § 129a. Unprofessional conduct includes failing to comply with provisions of federal or state statutes or rules governing the practice of the profession. 3 V.S.A. § 129a(a)(3).
(b) In determining whether an applicant or licensee has engaged in unprofessional conduct, the Board may refer for guidance to the AVMA principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics.
​Virginia ​Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine

18 VAC 150-20-140 Unprofessional conduct
​Unprofessional conduct shall include the following:
12. Refusing to release a copy of a valid prescription upon request from a client.
Washington​ Veterinary Board of Governors

WAC 246-933-350
Release of a veterinary prescription
(1) If requested by the client, a veterinarian must provide a written prescription for any medication prescribed by that veterinarian under a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
(2) As an alternative to a prescription, if requested by the client, the veterinarian must call or send the prescription by electronic means … to any pharmacy of the client's choosing.
West Virginia West Virginia Code of State Rules

W. Va. Code St. R. § 26-4-5
Mandatory Standards for the Practice of Veterinary Medicine
5.3.a. A veterinarian shall not prescribe, dispense or administer any prescription drug without the establishment of a veterinarian/client/patient relationship.

5.3.i. Veterinarians shall honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing.
Wisconsin ​Veterinary Examining Board

W.S.A. 89.068

Drugs for Animal Use
​A veterinarian may not do any of the following: (4) transmit a prescription electronically unless the client approves the transmission and the prescription is transmitted to a pharmacist or veterinarian designated by the client.
Wyoming​ ​Wyoming Rules and Regulations

AI VET Ch. 9, Sec. 1(b)
Standards of Professional Conduct for the Practice of Veterinary Medicine
​Wyoming Rules and Regulations adopt, incorporate and enforce as standards for professional conduct, the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, published by the American Veterinary Medical Association Judicial Council. These principles provide that veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing.

Source: Staff Research, AVMA Division of State Advocacy & Leadership
Contact: AVMA Division of Stat​e Advocacy & Leadership​