Mar
6
2014

Previously defeated H.R. 1406, the "Fairness to Pet Owners Act," has been reincarnated in 2014 in the form of H.R. 4023.

The new proposed act is drawing opposition from prominent members of the veterinary community who believe the legislation is unnecessary and burdensome for veterinarians.

H.R. 4023 is designed to "promote competition and help consumers save money by giving them the freedom to choose where they buy prescription pet medications, and for other purposes," according to act's text. However, organizations including the AVMA and NAVC are urging veterinary professionals to oppose the proposed legislation due to its requirement that veterinarians write prescriptions for domesticated household animals, whether or not requested by the client.

The proposed measure also specifies that veterinarians cannot charge for prescriptions or ask clients to sign a liability waiver regarding the written prescription.

According to the AVMA, the organization supports clients' rights to choose where their prescriptions are filled, but believes that veterinarians face undue burden by having to write a prescription whether or not the veterinarian will be filling the prescription.

The AVMA also pointed out that the act was placed in front of congress prior to the dissemination of findings and recommendations from an FTC public workshop held in October 2012 that explored competition and consumer protection issues in the pet medications sector.

"It seems premature to consider a 'solution,' such as this sweeping federal mandate, prior to publication of the report and clear identification of whether a problem actually exists," the AVMA wrote in its call to oppose the act.

Learn more and get involved

To read the full text of H.R. 4023, visit congress.gov. To share your opinions about the act with your local lawmakers, the NAVC recommends that veterinary professionals visit opencongress.org.

Comments (2) -

Wendy Hauser, DVM
Wendy Hauser, DVMUnited States
3/8/2014 9:24:02 AM #

AAHA, Thanks for spreading the word about this proposed legislation.  I strongly encourage each of my colleagues to join in a strong response to this proposition.  Please write your congressmen today-a strong grass roots opposition was a vital part of the demise of the first iteration of this bill.

Eric
EricUnited States
6/26/2014 9:21:42 AM #

It is time to stop the practice of over-charging for prescriptions by Veterinarians. I pay four times a local pharmacy cost for a common antibiotic because my vet refuses to provide me a prescription. Stop the price gouging and make providing a prescription a mandatory practice.

The AVMA's code of ethics states, "Veterinarians should honor a clients request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing." If Veterinarians won't uphold a code of ethics then they should be forced to write a prescription on request. Shame on the AVMA for opposing the bill with the argument that it would be too burdensome to provide a prescription to be filled by a licensed pharmacist!

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