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About Prescription Medicines


Over the past year many 'My Vet' users have contacted us with queries about where they stand with asking their local veterinarian for prescriptions so they can buy from My Vet. Recently one "my Vet" user contacted the Veterinary Council of New Zealand with the following letter:



"Can you advise me on whether or not purchasing prescription veterinary pharmaceutical supplies online is an acceptable practice in New Zealand.

It is commonly used overseas as we have recently been staying with friends in the UK who buy online all the time.


I have a (nearly) 13 year old pure bred Labrador who has been diagnosed with arthritis and for the last month she has been taking 100mg Rimadyl per day. She needs to be on this medication for probably the rest of her life, but I am finding the cost of the tablets from my local vet very very expensive ($4.78 a tablet).


My sister in Christchurch also has her Labrador on the same dosage of Rimadyl and she pays $3.60 a tablet, so I have been doing a little investigation as to the differences in costs and in doing so I came across an online supplier (My Vet in Whangamata) who I can purchase the tablets from with a script from my own dogs vet, for $2.50 a tablet.


The problem is, that my local vet is not keen to provide a script for someone else to dispense as he says the Vet Council do not condone this practice as the animal should be medicated by the vet who is looking after him/her. This does not seem right to me as the primary concern is that then animal gets the correct medication and obviously for the owner if this can be done in a cost effective way then that is beneficial. When I visit my doctor he does not instruct me which pharmacy to go to and if I can find one that is cheaper than another as some are (with no dispensing charges etc) then as a consumer that is my prerogative.


Please can you advise me your thoughts on this and whether of not my local vet can withhold giving me a script?"





The Veterinary Council of New Zealand replied with this statement:


"This is a relatively new area in NZ so your (local) vet may not be completely up to speed with the requirements.

These are that if requested by a client a vet must issue a written prescription in situations where the veterinarian would otherwise have dispensed the product them selves. This product can then be dispensed by another veterinary medicine trader on receipt of the script.


The vet must however only write the script after obtaining sufficient information via adequate consultation. The vet is entitled to charge a reasonable fee for writing the script (over and above the fee for the consultation) however is not entitled to require the client to meet a different standard of consultation in order to be issued with the script - as compared to the standard of consultation that would normally be required if the vet was dispensing the product him or herself. NZVA guidance is that the issuing of a written script will involve at least 5 minutes of professional time over and above the consultation."