Where You Get Your Pets’ Medication Matters
Some readers might wonder why I take a hard stand against pet owners using online pharmacies for the pets’ pharmaceutical needs.
I’ve written about my own professional experiences and opinions.
I’ve written about what your federal government has to say on the topic and why they have strong concerns about what you might get or not get when you order online.
Now, let me show you some “stuff” (I won’t call it medicine) that came into our hospital recently when a new client came to us after having recently moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Pictured at right is the “heartworm preventive” she was administering to her pet. What’s in it? We have no way of knowing unless we send it to a laboratory for spectrographic chemical analysis. Dare you trust the label to tell you what’s in there?
I don’t think so.
Let’s look at the label more closely. Here are some of the federal Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) requirements for prescription labels:
- The federal Drug Listing Act of 1972 caused manufacturers of prescription drugs to use a coding system to identify all drugs. The identifying system is called an NDC number and is a function of the National Drug Code, created by the FDA. Note that there is no NDC number on this packaging. To be fair, I will also point out that there are no other labels on the box.
- All primary producers of prescription medications (manufacturers) are required to use a standardized bar code system approved by the FDA. No other identification methods are acceptable. Note that there is no bar code on this packaging. The only way I was able to determine who made this “stuff” was by performing a Google search online. The company’s name is nowhere on the package. More on the company below.
- Manufacturer’s name must be prominently displayed. The only way I was able to determine who made this “stuff” was by performing a Google search online. The company’s name is nowhere on the package. More on the company below.
- Expiration Date: Note that there is no expiration date posted on this packaging.
- Control (or “Lot”) Number: Note the absence of a lot number. There is no way to track what “batch” of medication this package was produced with, which also prevents the consumer and investigators from knowing when it was produced.
- Labeling for individual containers.
Scenario 1: your child swallows the contents of these four syringes. You grab the syringes and an ambulance rushes you and your baby to the emergency room. The ER physician looks at the empty syringes and says, “What was in these?” What will you tell him? If you have lost the outer packaging the best the doctor can do is symptomatic treatment. And, just telling him “heartworm preventive for dogs” isn’t good enough. Several different active ingredients are used in
dogs’ and cats’ heartworm preventive medications.
- Scenario 2: your dog or cat swallows the contents of one syringe. You scoop up the empty syringe, as well as the three remaining full ones. You rush your pet to the veterinary emergency hospital. The ER veterinarian looks at the syringes and says, “What is this?” How will he treat your pet without more information? Symptomatic treatment is all you can hope for.
A search for “Ivergard Plus” on www.FDA.gov gives no results. It’s as if the FDA has never even heard of this product. Which most likely means, they haven’t!
Look up the product name on www.Trademarkia.com and you see that the trademark was abandoned in May 3, 2005. “No statement of use filed.” So, why does this new client have Ivergard Plus for her pet in 2010, five years later? She didn’t get it from a reputable source. She didn’t get it from someone who cared about her pet.
Whom can you trust? Trust a veterinarian you have been to with your pets, been satisfied with and/or have had recommended to you by a satisfied client.
Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast we have two military bases and a two huge government facilities nearby our practice location. There is a constant inflow of newcomers and outflow of departing families. Practices here obtain most of our new clients from referrals. Many families are stationed here three or more times during a military career, and they are happy to have a veterinarian they trust to return to.
It’s what your veterinarian builds his practice on.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.