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Why Pet Medications Are Cheaper at Online Pet Stores

3 Behind-the-Scenes Factors Unveiled

By Ellen Thompson. January 06, 2014 | See Comments

A Bottle Of Pills Spilled Out On Money

Ever wonder why pet meds cost so much when you purchase them from your veterinarian? Here's why buying from online pet stores is more cost effective.

All it takes is a quick online search to find that the pet medication your veterinarian just wrote you a prescription for is drastically cheaper at online pet stores than purchasing the medication at his or her office.

The American Animal Hospital Association has recently shined the light on the fact that vets mark up medications from 100 percent to 1,000 percent. But why the mark up? And how is it that online pet stores, which offer certified pet pharmacy services, can offer such drastically lower prices?

Here are three common reasons why pet medications are cheaper online.

1. Bulk Purchasing

Online pet pharmacies, due to the demand of their services, often need to buy pet medications in bulk. When they buy such large amounts they receive the added perk of bulk pricing, and they pass the savings on to you!

Since your vet will likely not be prescribing large amounts of specific medications there is no need for them to order in bulk, meaning they won’t get that bulk price break. In fact, they may even have to pay more for the medication than you would pay ordering it from an online pet store.

2. Overhead Costs

Online pet pharmacies also benefit from the added perk of space. In other words, they have the space to store bulk amounts of medications that your local vet does not have. It would not be cost effective for your vet to rent out storage space for medications that may or may not be prescribed. Not to mention, your vet would have to cover costs for medications that expire while sitting on the shelf.

3. Exclusive Distribution

Unfortunately, there are some medications that you may always have to pay a little extra for, namely those which veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturers have chosen to distribute exclusively to vets.

In an October 2013 op-ed article in Pharmalot, Dr. Race Foster addresses such restricted distribution practices and suggests they may stem from the belief that veterinary medications are safely dispensed only through veterinarians. Such a belief is off-base, since online pharmacies have to meet a set of rigorous criteria before being awarded a Vet-VIPPS certification from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, meaning that they are qualified to dispense medications for your pet.

“The end results of these restricted distribution practices, in our opinion, are limited choices and higher prices for the consumer and the denial of the ability of a fully qualified pharmacist to dispense a medication a pet needs.  We believe such restricted distribution should end,” Foster says.

More on Pet Care Costs

Your Pet Budget: Managing Your Pet Care Needs
How Are Pet Prescription Cards Different From Insurance
Reasonable Pet Vaccination Costs

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