I have some very important health concerns that I want to share with you today. I recently attended the MidWest Veterinary Conference in Columbus and ran into a couple classmates who were telling me about some bad experiences they have had with black market, counterfeit, unregistered veterinary medications being sold to pet owners. I shared we have had at least one experience also. As I researched for this newsletter I learned that new reports estimate the black market counterfeit/ falsified and unregistered veterinary medical product issue is a $2 billion dollar a year business.
Wow! These drugs are packaged to look EXACTLY like the real products. I learned that there are manufacturing plants across the country and in China that are creating exact (and I mean exact) copies of the packaging for many of the products being sold online!
This makes me sick for several reasons.
1. These unregistered products are likely not effective. The products may have no active ingredient but are packaged to look exactly like the real products. For example, they may not adequately prevent heartworm disease, be an effective NSAID, or be the heart medication your dog’s life depends on.
2. These counterfeit products may actually be unsafe or dangerous.
3. This is an illegal unregulated and dangerous business.
This is upsetting because you as pet owners rely on the medications that you buy to treat and prevent critical medical problems in your pets. These companies make every attempt to look legitimate and sell their products to online pharmacies. These medications are cheaper and thus they “pass the savings” on to you making them attractive to unsuspecting pet owners that are purchasing from an online pharmacy.
Here are some links to a few of these counterfeit warnings:
- Counterfeit Pet Drugs FDA Warning
- Fake Animal Medicines Are a Growing Problem
- Laboratory Urges Consumers to Return Counterfeit Pet Products
It appears that there are hundreds of drugs on the black market with the most commonly counterfeited being heartworm prevention, flea and tick combo products, and NSAID drugs (such as Rimadyl, Carprofen, Novox, Deramaxx). I’ve been in business for over 30 years. My goal is to keep your pet as healthy, happy and as safe as possible. Bringing this to your attention is not intended to be a scare tactic, but more of an eye-opener. Would you buy a new Rolex watch from a street vendor? It is the same analogy. I can guarantee that any product sold at our clinic is 100% authentic. We buy directly from the manufacturer or the approved manufacturer’s distributer with which we have developed trusted relationships.
Does this mean you should avoid purchasing pet medications online? No, but based on my research, learning about horror stories and the consequences of dangerous or counterfeit drugs, and from talking to my colleagues, I only recommend buying from very trusted websites.
One of our distributors has launched an online pharmacy that we are now working with exclusively. It is My Vet Store and it can be located by going to our website, and clicking on the “Online Pharmacy” tab at the top of the page. They have very competitive prices and, in many cases, beat the other “Trusted” online pharmacy prices. We personally evaluate the product and script and approve each one for accuracy before the product is shipped. If there are any problems we will contact you before the sale and shipment.
I hope this information is helpful and keeps your pets safe and healthy.
Dr. Doug Wagner, DVM
Granville Veterinary Clinic
If you have further questions about the online pharmacy or anything else, please contact us at 740-587-1129.