Like veterinarians, pharmacists are trained professionals who want to do what’s best for their clients. They receive training in advanced chemistry, biochemistry, and human physiology and pharmacology. But your local pharmacists may or may not be aware that animal physiology and pharmacology can differ significantly from that of humans, and this can lead to unintentional prescription errors and conflict.
The number of clients asking for prescriptions to fill (at real or perceived lower cost) at a human pharmacy is rising, and with that comes legitimate concerns of pharmacy errors. We’ve received a number of messages from veterinarians whose patients have been harmed by inappropriate substitution of medications, unapproved alterations to the prescribed dosage, and the use of potentially harmful ingredients (such as xylitol).
Because the requests for prescriptions are not going to go away, veterinarians can play a vital role in improving the safety of the prescriptions by writing clear prescriptions using terminology and abbreviations with which pharmacists are familiar; by communicating with clients to educate them on the importance of correctly filled prescriptions when it comes to their animal’s health; and communicating professionally with pharmacists.
We’ve developed some resources to help our members accomplish this role:
- A message to AVMA members about working with pharmacies
- Model letter to pharmacist (AVMA members only)
- Your Pet Prescription Choices – a handout for clients, available to AVMA members only