Purchasing medications over the internet may be less expensive or easier, as sometimes you do not even need a prescription. The question here is … Do you really know what you are getting?
There are some legitimate online pharmacies, but many are not. Online Pharmacies only have to follow the laws of the province, state or country that they are located in, and not the laws of the province of Ontario where you are having them shipped. This means you may get medications that are not even approved for use in Canada due to safety concerns. You should never purchase medication from any pharmacy that does not require a prescription, as this is a BIG flag that they are not a reputable business.
Often it is not stated where these internet pharmacies are located. If you are purchasing from a company that does not have a telephone number or street address there is potential for serious health risks. There is no way of knowing where the company is located, where they get their medications, what is in the medications and how to reach out to them if you have a problem. You may get medications with no active ingredients, wrong ingredients, dangerous additives or drugs which have past their expiry date. Even if these drugs do not harm your pet, they may not help improve their condition or prevent disease in the case of heartworm, tick and flea medication.
Medication that needs to be stored in a certain way – refrigerated, not too hot or frozen – are not ideal to purchase online simply because controlling these temperatures during variable shipping times, as well as border crossing delays can not be predicted.
Financial risks of buying medications on the internet include medications not being sent at all, or if they are coming from another country they may be stopped at the border by Canadian authorities. If Customs does not allow it into the country you are out the money. When you purchase a medication from Hillcrest Animal Hospital, we can offer the backing of the producer/company that makes the drugs so that if there are any concerns, questions or problems we can help. If you buy from an online pharmacy the Drug Company will not support the medication.
Medication for your pet can be quite costly and tough on the pocket book. We all want what is best for your pet and taking risks to save a few dollars at the expense of your beloved pet’s health and well being is not a risk we would like to see any one take. Our pets are our family and it is their lives that bring joy to ours. Please be aware and make informed choices if you do choose to use an online pharmacy.
Written by Darlene Cannon, RVT
Hillcrest Animal Hospital