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 Pet health, safety and consumer flexibility at heart of AVMA testimony before House subcommittee

​American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Board Chair Dr. John de Jong testified Friday, April 29, at The Pet Medication Industry: Issues and Perspectives hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee.

The hearing was related to proposed legislation known as the Fairness to Pet Owners Act, which would federally mandate prescription writing for veterinarians. Dr. de Jong explained that veterinarians are already writing prescriptions for clients. In addition, a report issued by the Federal Trade Commission staff in 2015 found no evidence of veterinarians withholding written prescriptions from their clients.

Dr. de Jong testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee

The AVMA fervently supports the client’s right to have a prescription filled by either the veterinarian’s office or a licensed pharmacy. This practice is supported by a majority of state laws, as well as the AVMA’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics and its Guidelines for Veterinary Prescription Drugs, which call on veterinarians to write a prescription in lieu of dispensing a medication when desired by a client.

“As an association, the AVMA is dedicated to protecting, promoting and advancing the veterinary profession and the veterinarians whose duty it is to serve both animals and people,” de Jong said. “We understand that clients must make financial decisions when planning and paying for services and medications, which is exactly why we support policies that give our clients the flexibility to choose where they fill their prescriptions.”

Several members of the subcommittee questioned the origin and number of complaints that prompted the proposed legislation. Most of the complaints were anecdotal, without specific numbers to provide evidence of a problem in need of a legislative remedy.

“It isn’t about making money,” Schrader said. “It is about protecting health and safety of animals.”

Dr. de Jong said the AVMA educates veterinarians through numerous communications channels regarding prescription drug rules and how to work with licensed pharmacists to ensure prescriptions provided are filled as intended.

“At the heart of the matter—and what resides in the heart of each veterinarian—is the health and well-being of our pets,” said de Jong.

To read Dr. de Jong’s complete testimony click here.

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