AVMA opposes prescription mandate legislation

Some members of Congress want to require veterinarians to provide clients with copies of all companion animal prescriptions, regardless whether the client wants one or whether the prescription is ultimately dispensed by the veterinarian or filled by a pharmacy. For some years, they have pushed for a new federal law implementing this prescription mandate.

The prescription mandate legislation, misleadingly called the "Fairness to Pet Owners Act" (H.R. 1607/ S.1290), has been introduced into the current Congress by U.S. Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). This proposed regulation is patterned on prior legislation involving contact lenses for people, which simply does not translate to the complex environment of delivering veterinary medicine.

Prescription mandates interfere in the veterinarian-client-patient relationship and create an unnecessary regulatory burden.

The AVMA opposes the bill because it interferes in the veterinarian-client-patient relationship and creates an unnecessary regulatory burden in an area already effectively regulated by states through their oversight of the veterinary profession.

There is no need for a sweeping federal mandate on this issue. The vast majority of states already have a requirement for a veterinarian to provide a prescription when a client requests one, and the AVMA's Principles of veterinary medical ethics state that veterinarians shall provide written or electronic prescriptions when asked.

The AVMA supports client access to prescription options—but prescription mandates aren't the way to achieve that access.

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How state laws handle clients' requests for prescriptions

View specific statutes, rules or agency policy statements addressing whether or not a veterinarian is required to provide a written prescription at the client’s request.

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