Federal Law Regarding Refills On Vet Meds?

I was just told by my vet that I would no longer be able to get the medicine we need for our pet's eyes without coming in for an exam. He said it was a federal law. Does anyone know what federal law it is?


I have a chronic illness but my doctor has never told me I couldn't get my meds without specific exam because of a federal law.

Linda from Mpls, MN

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April 4, 20080 found this helpful

For veterinarians to prescribe any prescription medication there has to be a recent veterinary-client-patient relationship. This is why some of the internet pharmacies are getting in trouble because they have never seen the pet they are giving medications to. So the FDA is cracking down on internet pharmacies and even veterinarians that are just "refilling" medicines without even seeing the animal for several years.


I can't find the exact federal law, you would probably need to talk to a lawyer, but here is some gibberish that talks a little about it.
The veterinarian is just doing what is best for your pet and what is legal.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 213 Posts
April 5, 20080 found this helpful

If it's an "Antibiotic" then that's the new law. If it's NOT antibiotics, then I don't know what they're talking about!

* BUT, you can just go to a feed store in your area & buy what you need, OR you can buy your pet meds online. Just Google "Pet Meds".


(It may very well be "GOOD for your pet" but these days so many are just scraping by, do you choose between a vet visit or food? or staying warm?)

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April 6, 20080 found this helpful

I think it is another way for vets to jack up prices. I quit going unless needed. I did my own pets shots and got heart worm from tractor supply they have all that stuff there! No problems ever with our dogs /cats at the farm!

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April 6, 20080 found this helpful

The laws are changing for several types of drugs--we can no longer give our own rabies injections like we used to be able to.

Also, this law is to protect people who get meds from the vet than use them for themselves rather then the pet. This sometimes happens with eye drops.

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By Me (Guest Post)
April 7, 20080 found this helpful

Don't just buy them from anyone on-line. Just because they're there & look legit & have the necessary quality doesn't mean it's true.

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By Carol (Guest Post)
April 8, 20080 found this helpful

I also have a chronic illness. My doctor has me come into her office for a checkup every three or four months. Otherwise, she cannot give me refills on my prescriptions. I believe it is the law. However, the one med that I take is a controlled substance. At any rate, I believe it would be unethical for a physician to prescribe meds without seeing the patient.


Maybe they no longer need to take them or there is another one that is newer and the med should be changed. How else would they know to make that decision. also, I think its good for them to check to see if anything else has developed.

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April 8, 20080 found this helpful

For humans, the law states that a physician must see a patient yearly in order to subscribe a specific medication. A family/regular doctor will often take notes about a patient's problems as you see him throughout the year to fulfill this.

Vets may have similar restrictions, I'm not sure. I do know that vets are not obligated by law to write a prescription for the patient to have filled mail order, web, or another place. They can refuse to give you anything unless you buy the prescription from them, and they can charge anything they want. If you insist, most will write a prescription out, but charge you extra for it. There are no laws restraining them--If MDs can't get away with this, how can a vet? Their excuse is that you don't know what you're getting when you buy ovet the web.


However, reputable places like Pet meds buy from the same places that stock veterinarian offices, require you to have a written prescription, call the vet's office to verify that prescription, and hire a local vet to buy prescriptions and sell them through. These rules also go for flea and tick medications.

I personally think someone should take the vets to court to stop their practices. As consumers, we pay for their services and should be able to buy the prescriptions anyplace we want. If an MD can't tell us where to buy our meds, why should our vet? And why should they be able to decide an the prices we must pay for our pets medications? Our economy is built on competition. Yet, they act like little gods trying to control our freedoms, and there is no law to stop them from doing it.

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August 27, 20190 found this helpful

I took my dog to vet for consultation and they refused to write me a prescription to force me to buy meds with them. Otherwise they would charge me a $10 fee per prescription.


I find this outrageous considering that I paid for the consultation and their prices are higher than other reputable online pharmacies. In my view, refusing to write a prescription for meds they are dispensing via their own pharmacy should be considered a conflict of interest. They charge more and they dont give a hoot about the clients ability to pay these high vet bills. Any simple visit you will come out having paid over $100. Plus meds.

I take my dog to the vet out of necessity but I dont really trust none really care about you or your pet, just their fees. Sad to say.

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By Heather (Guest Post)
May 15, 20080 found this helpful

Yes, this is not only a law, but it is also practicing good medicine. A veterinarian would be negligent if he/she prescribed medication for your pet without first examining it. Athough it seems like an inconvenience, exams ensure that your pet is recieving appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Yes, it can get expensive, but it is part of the responsibility of animal ownership.

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June 27, 20190 found this helpful

Our vet has diagnosed our dog with chronic ear infections twice and prescribed the same ear drops each time. Why should we pay 3 times the price for an exam when we already know what she needs. Just simply need a refill.

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January 18, 20210 found this helpful

Can you cite documentation for this? I can't find any actual laws on this.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
January 18, 20210 found this helpful

Here's a page from the FDA. I would jump to the Dispensing Veterinary Prescription Drugs section where it says:

"Since adequate directions for safe and effective lay use cannot be written for animal prescription drug products, such products can only be sold on the prescription or other order of a licensed veterinarian (Section 503(f)). Prior to being sold or dispensed, they must remain in the possession of a person or firm regularly and lawfully engaged in the manufacture, transportation, storage, or wholesale or retail distribution of animal prescription drug products. The drug products may be distributed only by persons or firms authorized by State and local laws."

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May 23, 20080 found this helpful

The veterinarian is prudent to insist on this. Eyes can change really quickly - sometimes obviously and sometimes more subtly. You could discuss with your vet about the frequency of rechecks and how much you can buy at one time. It will work a lot better if you do this in person at an appointment. With some eye conditions you will be able to space out the rechecks more as time goes on and the eye has been stable for a while. Good luck. I'm sure your veterinarian would be more than happy to explain to you why he needs to do rechecks - and it would be worthwhile for you to hear him/her out.

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May 9, 20090 found this helpful

My personal opinion on this is another way for vets to make money off of you. My dog has seizures. I was told last month that I couldn't get any more meds for her unless I bring her in for a yearly exam. They said that after that I wouldn't have to do anything for a year and she could get her meds. I brought her in, they checked her heart and took her temp. After the exam and getting her meds it was near $100. I just called yesterday to order her meds and they told me that I couldn't get the meds unless I brought her in for a blood test. Why did I go in last month?

For them to collect the office visit fee and now I get to go in for another office visit fee and a blood test fee. They got us, what are we going to do, let our pet die? I asked what happens if I can't afford the blood test, are you not going to give my dog her meds so she can seize and die? I didn't get any answer. So I got the blood test and it came back normal, just fine after another $150. I still think they like to make us come back for the money.

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June 12, 20180 found this helpful

Yes I agree
A lot of nonsense to make money. You know it's a racket. Does your vet really care about your pet along with every other pets he examines?? He wont remember him 2 hours after he sees him. If you know your pet, you know when something is wrong. The more meds and unnecessary shots, the more chances he will developed something. I feel less is better. Everything has side effects.

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September 1, 20180 found this helpful

Do your research, folks.

In fact, the Federal (FDA) law on this matter ("Veterinarian Client Patient Relationship" - Google "VCPR") does not stipulate a specific frequency required to maintain the VCPR relationship beyond "recently", and provides an alternative to this (contact of many types).

The Federal statute is based on the same guidelines adopted by most States, that originated with the recommendations of the AMVA. Be aware that in many cases, State requirements take precedence over Federal regs, so check for your case: <>;

In short, there is no Federal nor (in most cases) State requirement for the frequency of visits after the first establishes the VCPR. The "every 12mo. by law" claim is simply a lie.

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September 11, 20180 found this helpful

My dog has taken Zonisamide for nearly 10 years without any issues and the medicine has always been refilled for at least a year at a time. The vet I am using now said that I need to bring in my dog every four months for a check up and only then would they refill the prescription.

He states it's the vet "law" and I can take it or leave it. In human medicine, the physician wants to see the patient at least every year. Undertandable.

Since this has been a long term treatment that works for my dog and previous vets have not demanded frequent checkups, I'm wondering if this is a ransom situation. More importantly than the money, my dog very anxious and any visit to the vet is traumatic and can cause a seizure. Why should I have to risk my dog's health from unnecessary visits to get a refill??

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September 30, 20190 found this helpful

FYI Recently could mean days,weeks, maybe months, but certainly not over 1 year.

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December 30, 20190 found this helpful

Seems to me when a pet has a life-long chronic condition that holding the prescription for ransom by demanding an office visit for an otherwise healthy animal is extortion. I've been told there's "a law" but I've searched the internet and can't find anything specific.

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