AVMA encourages veterinarian-client-patient relationships in Internet prescribing and Web business

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The policy that encourages veterinarians to follow standards for prescribing and dispensing FDA-approved drugs via the Internet was modified by the Judicial Council and approved by the Executive Board.

The policy now reads:

To enhance safe use of prescription drugs and prevent hazards to the health of animals, the AVMA encourages the following standards for prescribing and dispensing of FDA-approved prescription drugs via the Internet:

1)  A veterinarian-client-patient relationship must be established before drugs are prescribed.
2)  Drugs of foreign origin that lack FDA approval cannot be used legally.

In addition, the AVMA encourages the FDA to enforce existing laws and regulations pertaining to use of the Internet for prescribing and dispensing drugs.

The Judicial Council also requested that the board approve having an attorney prepare an opinion that could serve as the basis for an article in the JAVMA regarding relationships between veterinarians and Internet marketing companies.

The recommendation included several questions about veterinarians' legal responsibilities that the council hoped would be answered by the attorney. Members of the board were concerned that the attorney could not address all legal issues for veterinarians in all states. They also were concerned that having the attorney address each question would require considerable legal fees.

The board decided to refer the recommendation back to the council. The board suggested that the council prepare an informational article for JAVMA to include questions that the AVMA members should ask their own attorneys. The council should review articles that have bee published by other organizations when preparing the article. The final article should be reviewed by the AVMA council before publishing.