Watch for number of refills requested

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Veterinarians are reporting that some Internet pharmacies are requesting prescription authorizations from them, by fax, that provide for medication refills extending well beyond one year. This is contrary to good patient care and is illegal in many states.

Look closely for the stated numerical quantity and additional words such as "refills" and "quantity." To prevent refill abuse, write the word "zero" next to the refill number and run a dark line through the requested refill numbers.

In the most extreme example reported to the AVMA, a pharmacy sought authorization for a 12-pack of monthly heartworm preventive, Qty. 2; refill (1). That adds up to 48 doses or 4 years' worth of medication.

For further guidance in this area, AVMA members can access the section on "Addressing prescribing and dispensing in your practice" at