PetMed Express probation lifted

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The Florida Department of Health's Board of Pharmacy has granted a request from PetMed Express Inc. for early termination of probation. The company served only two years of a three-year probation.

In April 2002, the board charged PetMed Express with 80 counts, including 33 counts of making deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations, or employing a trick or scheme in, or related to, the practice of a profession. Thirty counts involved selling or dispensing drugs without a proper prescription. The complaints involved the company's alternate veterinarian program, through which the company allegedly contracted with veterinarians to write prescriptions for animals they had never examined. This is a violation of Florida law, as well as many other state's laws, because no valid doctor-patient relationship exists. The company was also charged with selling drugs not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Through a stipulation agreement, the Board of Pharmacy did not conclude in 2002 that PetMed Express violated Florida statutes, and PetMed Express did not admit guilt. The company agreed to three years of probation, random pharmacy inspections, and community service in the form of providing free pharmaceutical services to the public. PetMed Express also agreed not to purchase, dispense, or distribute drugs not approved by the FDA; not to knowingly fill, dispense, or distribute medication for prescriptions written by veterinarians who have not physically examined the animal for whom the prescription is written; to terminate their alternate veterinarian program; and to pay a fine and investigative costs.

In February 2004, PetMed Express requested early termination of probation, saying that it had complied with all requests. Board of Pharmacy members voted 6 to 2 to lift probation.