A Congressional bill that aims to give pet owners more choice is getting bipartisan support. Representative Jim Matheson (D) of Utah’s Fourth Congressional District and Jason Chaffetz (R) of Utah’s Third Congressional District cosponsored the Fairness to Pet Owners Act on February 10th. The bill, if passed, will mean that pet parents and owners will automatically receive a copy of their pet’s prescriptions without having to ask for it, signing a waiver from the vet, or paying a fee.
What Does The Fairness to Pet Owners Act Mean?
According to the bill's sponsors, veterinarians are under no obligation to provide a written prescription for pet medications and there is significant state-by-state variation in laws governing patient access to written prescriptions. As a result, many pet parents are unaware of their choices and most purchase medications at the vet’s office (instead of taking the prescription to a pharmacy, drug store, or online pharmacy). Consumer Reports has found that vet markups on prescription medications are often 100% or more, sometimes hitting as much as 1,000%, like for amoxicillin.
The FTPOA aims to make pet medications more affordable and accessible by ensuring pet parents have a consistent, clear, and legally protected choice of where to fill their pet’s prescriptions. It seeks to follow the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act of 2003 and the "Eyeglass Rule" of 1978. Under those laws which also faced opposition from lobbying groups that stated there was no need for them, Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) required optometrists to issue free copies of prescriptions to their patients. According to the FTC, the Rule appears to have made it easier for consumers to comparison shop, leading to lower prices and more choices for consumers. The FTPOA aims to have the same impact in the pet medication market -- lower prices and more choices for pet parents.
How Can I Learn More?
APAW (Advocacy for Pets and Affordable Wellness) has set up a website where you can learn more about the act and send a letter to Congress. You can also send a letter straight from the PetCareRx Facebook Page with just a few clicks.
Does PetCareRx Support FTPOA?
Yes. PetCareRx supports the legislation's objectives of lowering prices and increasing customer choice.
What Do You Think?
Do you think this bill will be a step in the right direction for pets and pet parents? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.