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Prescription Refills – Policy and Information

Prescription Reorder Policy:

Please provide us with at least 72 hours to refill your companion’s prescription. If they need special-order medication, such as compounded medications, it may take as long as a week to receive your refill. If there are no other requests from the compounding pharmacy at the same time, the pharmacy might charge a shipping fee. For each refill, please be sure to confirm the type of medication and the dosage you have been giving to your pet.

Before a refill can be approved, your companion must have had a full physical health exam with a veterinarian within the last year. If the prescription is for medications addressing hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, Cushing’s, or Addison’s, bloodwork may be required prior to refill. This depends on how long your companion has been on the medication and any concurrent health issues they may have. These blood tests help to ensure we are not overdosing or underdosing your companion.

For medications that treat infections (such as ear infections and skin infections), the patient will need to be seen for each infection event. This is because dosing can change and depending on the case topical therapy may be implemented before oral therapy. Other allergy medications may require an exam, because if there is a concurrent infection they can make the infection worse. For ear conditions, we need to see what bugs are brewing in the ears to prevent antibiotic resistance and eardrum trauma.

Excerpt from College of Veterinarians of BC: Prescribing

“A valid veterinarian-client-patient-relationship must exist before a veterinarian can prescribe or dispense a medication for your pet. This is referred to as the VCPR and it is required by law. The VCPR usually involves face-to-face communication and an exam of your pet, which allows your veterinarian to determine the health status of your pet before making any treatment recommendations.”

Costs of Veterinary Prescriptions:

We understand that veterinary medicine is expensive, and that veterinary medications are often more costly than human equivalents. We hear questions about costs frequently, so do not feel uncomfortable that you are questioning this. We hope that this information helps to explain the cost differences between veterinary and human medications.

Firstly, Canada has a universal health plan for humans – the Canadian government looks at the lowest and highest cost medications and sets a fee that they tell the drug company they will pay and no more. If the drug company wants to sell in Canada, they adhere to this price, but only for the human field. In addition, in most cases veterinarians can only buy their medications through buying groups and not directly from the wholesaler, and therefore must pay the middleman fees. Veterinarians also have limited buying power compared to the human market. For the drug companies, the cost to make veterinary drugs is often more than for human medications because the drugs often need to be flavored for palatability – this requires special machinery to make the pills or liquid.

Written/Phone Prescriptions:

By law, you may request a written/phone-in prescription to be filled elsewhere. You are free at this time to take it to whomever you wish, such as a human pharmacy or an online pharmacy. We must warn you that both these options have their risks. However, there are some instances where the drug is too obscure for us to carry all the time or there is only a human alternative. We do charge a prescription-writing fee for medications that could otherwise be provided from our hospital stock, as the veterinarian must analyze and calculate dosing based on your companion’s needs – this fee is waived if the only option is to fill the prescription at an external pharmacy.