March 01, 2002


 Dispensing foreign products constitutes drug diversion

Posted Feb. 15, 2002

Some pharmacies are dispensing foreign versions of prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration, according to reports from veterinarians. Although the brand name or active ingredient appears identical, careful inspection of the carton, packaging, or insert may reveal that the product is intended for sale in other countries. This suggests it was diverted to the United States. It is generally illegal to dispense foreign drugs in the United States, including foreign versions of FDA-approved, U.S. products.

Prescription veterinary drugs approved by the FDA can be identified by the following legend: "Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian."

Veterinarians might put pharmacies on notice by indicating that a prescription is for U.S., FDA-approved products only. The AVMA and FDA encourage veterinarians to report any instances where foreign drugs are dispensed by completing the Pharmacy Complaint Form. AVMA members can access the form, along with other resources on prescribing and dispensing, at Copies are also available by calling AVMA headquarters, (800) 248-2862, ext. 289.