FTC seeks comments ahead of workshop on pet medications

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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking comments in conjunction with an Oct. 2 workshop to examine current practices related to distribution of pet medications to consumers.

The FTC is examining the issue largely in light of the Fairness to Pet Owners Act (H.R. 1406), which the agency would be responsible for enforcing. The legislation would require veterinarians to provide clients with written prescriptions for all prescription drugs for pets, even if the veterinarian then dispenses the drugs, and with written notification of the option to fill prescriptions elsewhere.

The AVMA is actively pursuing defeat of the bill. The Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the AVMA already state that veterinarians should honor clients’ requests for prescriptions in lieu of dispensing. The AVMA believes federal legislation would be burdensome and unnecessary.

Early this year, the FTC reached out to the AVMA for background on the practice of veterinary medicine and the logistics of prescribing and dispensing medications for animals. Representatives of the agency and the AVMA met in February to discuss issues of concern, and the AVMA has since facilitated meetings between agency representatives and a sampling of private practitioners.

The FTC arranged the Oct. 2 workshop to consider the extent to which consumers are able to obtain written, portable prescriptions for their pets and other matters relevant to distribution of pet medications. The workshop is free and open to the public.

The agency also seeks comments relevant to the upcoming workshop from consumers, veterinarians, business representatives, economists, lawyers, academics, and other stakeholders. Parties may submit comments through Sept. 14.

Details about the workshop, background information, and instructions for submitting comments are available at ftc.gov/opp/workshops/petmeds.