The alleged “Fairness to Pet Owners Act” reared its head again on July 24 when Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) reintroduced the bill in the U.S. House. Though it has been introduced and failed in Congress twice in the past, this time it may have legs.
The bill (H.R. 3174) will require veterinarians to provide clients with written prescriptions for their pets whether or not the client requests one. The AVMA has been strongly opposed to this bill, not because we believe that pet owners shouldn’t be able to choose where they get their pets’ prescriptions, but because they should already have this option. In fact, AVMA’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics states that if a client requests a copy of the prescription, the veterinarian should grant their request, and a majority of states have laws or policies requiring it.
When the Federal Trade Commission issued its report late this spring that examined the accessibility of veterinary drugs in the pet products industry, at no point did the agency find evidence that would suggest that veterinarians are not providing their clients with written prescriptions upon request. Essentially, this legislation, then, would be creating a solution to a problem that does not exist.
Despite the significant opposition to this bill, some in Congress have expressed interest in moving the bill. Should H.R. 3174 pass out of committee, it would be very difficult to keep it from moving forward and potentially getting floor time.
We do not believe that this bill will improve patient care. Writing unnecessary prescriptions is a regulatory burden that wastes time and resources that veterinarians and their staff could be using to care for animal patients. If a client wants a prescription, all they have to do is ask.
Tell your congressional leaders to put a stop to this bill and let veterinarians use common sense when it comes to providing pet care. Sign our action alert here. Learn more about our opposition to this bill on our Web page.