Product resale solicitations

Current Concern: Veterinarians approached by companies to resell products in exchange for commissions

The Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the AVMA state "it is unethical for veterinarians to use or permit the use of their names, signatures, or professional status in connection with the resale of ethical products in a manner which violates those directions or conditions specified by the manufacturer to ensure the safe and efficacious use of the product." The Principles define an ethical product as "a product for which the manufacturer has voluntarily limited the sale to veterinarians as a marketing decision. Such products are often given a different product name and are packaged differently than products that are sold directly to consumers. Ethical products are sold only to veterinarians as a condition of sale that is specified in a sales agreement or on the product label."

Reports of fraudulent sales should be directed to the manufacturer. It is not legally appropriate for the AVMA to become involved in the enforcement of contractual matters or marketing policies.

In addition, some states require suppliers of products to be registered as distributors, and tax laws vary.

State practice acts do not allow veterinarians to resell prescription (Rx) drugs to companies. Veterinarians are licensed to prescribe, administer, and dispense prescription drugs in the course of their professional practice within a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Veterinarians who wish to become commercial suppliers of prescription drugs should determine the requirements for registration as a wholesaler or distributor. Begin by contacting one's state Board of Pharmacy.

Veterinarians approached by suppliers to resell drugs might report their concerns to the Board of Pharmacy of the state in which the supply company is located. In February 2006, the Kansas Board of Veterinary Examiners suspended the license of a veterinarian for reselling prescription drugs and ethical veterinary products to retailers, who sold the products directly to consumers.

Kansas suspends veterinarian for drug reselling (JAVMA News, May 15, 2006)


This information has been compiled by AVMA Scientific Activities Division staff.