December 01, 2009
The AVMA has recently received inquiries from members who had concerns about how to properly follow the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics when receiving requests for prescription drugs to be filled at the pharmacy of a client's choice.
The AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics state, in part: "Veterinarians should honor a client's request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing." It is important to note, however, that the decision as to whether a prescription drug should be used for a patient must be made by a veterinarian, not a pharmacy.
Veterinarians asked by pharmacies to approve prescriptions should do so only if the prescription is medically appropriate for that patient and if a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship exists.
Veterinarians are encouraged to contact their state board of pharmacy to determine whether a pharmacist may call or fax to obtain refills on existing medications.
Members may document concerns regarding unusual pharmacy practices by using the AVMA's complaint form here, which may be sent to the appropriate regulatory authority as well as to AVMA for archiving purposes.