Client request for prescriptions

Last updated April 2014

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. Nineteen 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. An additional ten states incorporate 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 III-C).  Most recently in 2014, the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board adopted a rule stating that if requested, a prescription must be provided to a client for medications prescribed by the veterinarian under a valid veterinarian-client-patient-relationship. During this year, Delaware adopted a regulation that requires veterinarians to notify patients before dispensing any controlled substance, that the prescription may be filled in the practitioner’s office or any pharmacy.

Arizona requires a dispensing veterinarian to notify an animal owner that some prescription-only drugs and controlled substances may be available at a pharmacy. The dispensing veterinarian may provide a written prescription to the animal owner if so requested.

California law requires a prescribing veterinarian to offer to give a written prescription to a client that the client may elect to have filled by the prescriber or by a pharmacy.

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:
  1.  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 prescription to the animal owner if requested by an animal owner.
​California

Business and Professions Code
Sec. 4170, Article 12 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.
Connecticut Connecticut General Statutes

Chapter 384 Veterinary Medicine

20-202 Disciplinary action; grounds
In determining whether a licensee 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​
Colorado​ ​State Board of Veterinary Medicine
4 CCR 727-1
Veterinary Medicine Rules and Regulations

6.08 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. 
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
700-8-.01  Unprofessional Conduct
​Within the meaning of GA. Code subsection 43-50-21(a)(7), unprofessional conduct means:

(e) Prescription Drugs:
  1.  After a valid veterinary/client/patient relationship has been established, a veterinarian must make available, upon request, at a reasonable cost, a written prescription. (amended 10/12/11)
Hawaii​ ​Hawaii Revised Statutes
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
Chapter 01. Rules of the State of Idaho Board of Veterinary Medicine
​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. 
​Indiana Chapter 4. Practice; Discipline; Prohibitions
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.
Iowa​ Administrative Code, Veterinary Medicine Board
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
​(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
§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.
Massachusetts​ Massachusetts Board of Veterinary Medicine
Policy Statement 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.
Nevada​ Nevada Revised Statutes
§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
Chapter 500 Ethical Standards
​New Hampshire board rules require all licensed veterinarians to comply with the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, published by the American Veterinary Medical Association. These principles provide that veterinarians should honor a client’s request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing. 
New Jersey​ ​New Jersey Administrative Code
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
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
Part 29 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.
Oklahoma​ Oklahoma Statutes Title 59 Chapter 8
Section 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)(d)

Minimum Veterinary Practice Standards

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

Rhode Island​

Rules and Regulations for the Licensure of Veterinarians
Section 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
120-8 Misconduct
​Licensed veterinarians shall comply with the American Veterinary Medical Association Code of Professional Ethics.
Utah​ ​Utah Administrative Code
Unprofessional conduct
Rule R156-28-502
​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

Administrative
Rules

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
Guidance Document 150-3, Veterinary Prescriptions, February 2004
​The Board has held consistently that it is unprofessional conduct for a veterinarian to refuse to provide a prescription to a client if he would have dispensed the medication for the patient from his own animal facility. This does not mean that the veterinarian is compelled to release a prescription if requested if there are medical reasons for not releasing it and he would not dispense the medication from his own practice.
Wyoming​ ​Wyoming Rules and Regulations
Ch. 4, 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 State Legislative and Regulatory Department
Contact: Adrian Hochstadt, AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department, 847-285-6780