Pet Meds and the Greedy Vet


BoogieTerry’s last post got us on a Customer (NO) Service line of thinking, so I might as well stay on course.

The photo is of my best friend, Boogie. He’s a 12-year old black (with a lot of gray, like me) lab and the best damn dog in the world.  For years, from the time I got him, I worked from home and me and Boogie hung out together. He was my VP of Customer Relations. He thinks he is human, and sometimes I think he is.

Anyway, Boogie has slowed down a lot the last year or so. Had to quit walking 2 miles a day with me and the wife about a year and half ago. He was still making it a couple of blocks twice a day – morning and evening. He loves to walk. He had his annual checkup in October. We discussed his slowing down and how he seemed to be in a little pain. The Vet recommended Rimadyl. Rimadyl is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to help reduce pain. We tried it on Boogie and the difference in him was unbelievable. He is a new dog. The stuff worked on him. He’s back to walking about 1/4 mile in the morning and evening and he has his smile back. He is better!

Now his current Vet is his Vet by default. Boogie’s previous Vet was outstanding. Her name was Dr. Karen. He had her for many, many years. Due to highway construction, she lost her building. She opted to join a Vet practice outside Atlanta, where we live. We continued to go to her for a couple of years until last year, Dr. Karen opened another practice about 60 miles out of town – too far to drive for us. So we stayed with the practice she had joined. Now this Vet is OK but nothing like Dr. Karen. Boogie LOVED her – got excited when you said, “Let’s go see Dr. Karen.” He knew her name and he wanted to see her. How do they know? They just do.

Back to the Rimadyl. The new Vet OKs Boogie to stay on Rimadyl after some blood tests. We get the first prescription. The price floored us. About $2 a pill. Now, I don’t mind the $2 a pill if it makes Boogie feel better. But we checked with 1-800-PetMeds and found they had the same pills for about $1.10 a pill. So we tell the Vet. We would rather support your practice and buy the presription from you but your price on Rimadyl is a little high. The Vet won’t come off the price. So we ask for the prescription so we can send it to 1-800-PetMeds. The Vet did not like this request.  But a buck is a buck, right?

We make an order on 1-800-PetMeds. They call the Vet to verify the prescription. The Vet tells PetMeds they don’t deal with PetMeds and hang up the phone. PetMeds contacts us and says we must fax them the hard copy prescription. We get the prescription from the Vet and fax it in. PetMeds calls the Vet again yesterday and they refuse to verify the prescription – stupidology. Now, we have to mail the hard copy prescription in so we can get the Rimadyl from 1-800-PetMeds. How stupid is this?

The Vet, Dr. Greedy, just lost a steady, paying customer. If she had offered the pills at a reasonable markup, I would have paid for the convenience and to support her practice. But double the price? No way. And the way they refused to assist PetMeds in filling our subscription – which they had given to us – is absolutely wrong.

I am a business person and totally understand how to run a profitable business. I understand markup. I understand a reasonable profit. I don’t understand ripping people off and not being helpful to long-term customers, or any customer, for that matter.

Dr. Greedy doesn’t get it – life ain’t brain surgery. Being nice to people and being cooperative will get you further than being mean and greedy. Good-bye, Dr. Greedy. Rot in hell!

Richard 

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14 comments
  1. Hate vets who charge too much… have my fair of money rippin vets

  2. Trever Barker said:

    I am sorry, you are right and never ever should money (or anything related to someone making a “buck” get in the way of a pet’s health. I love my vet and we do have an understanding about me getting my medicine from 1-800-PetMeds (I work here). I actually would rather have the hard copy and bring it in. The control is yours and never let anyone take it away.
    Trever

  3. pinkracerx said:

    is it true that 800 pet meds does not get their meds from the same source as veterinarians? or that the products they sell are of “international” quality and sub-US standards? if the vet is trying to make a buck by marking up the same product, shame on them. if 800petmeds is selling substandard product as first quality, shame on them. who is doing what??!
    anybody have an organic solution for flea prevention and control??!
    there’s gotta be an easier (and cheaper) way!

  4. Teri said:

    Love your site and you are right vets rip people off and most times it is the same people that cannot afford the medications for their pets. 300- to 600 percent markups are outrageous. Shame on the vets that do that, some are not charging high markups and for those vets they will retain their customers. After all your not in their office to pay for their yachts, your there to get your pet healthy without mortgaging your house.
    Good post!!

  5. VetTech said:

    Thats because any online pharmacy does not get their products from the actual manufacturer. Soooo we don’t know where Pet Meds or the like actually get their supply or if its even handled properly. Plus if anything were to happen to your pet while on the medication the manufacturers will NOT back you or your pet up because they don’t sell to anyone but a licensed veterinarian.

    It’s all for your pets well being. Many offices now price match so your pet is safe and your pockets are spared.

    I’m not condoning how the vet handled your situation.

    Online Pharmacies are bad. Remember there is always a catch to things that are cheaper than they should be 😉

  6. Joe said:

    Richard,
    I am with the TV show “Inside Edition” and we are considering doing a story on the incredible markups consumers face at pet clinics. I would like to hear how you solved your expensive pet meds problem. Please e-mail.

    Joe

  7. Mark said:

    In response to VetTech, I got the same line from someone at my vet’s office about 1800petmeds not getting their products directly from the manufacturer.

    I dug a little deeper and asked who gave them that information, and they said ‘well the manufacturer did’

    So maybe this comes down to greedy manufacturers as well as greedy vets. They make a much nicer profit selling small amounts to small vets than they would selling to a large online retailer with a lot of purchasing power.

    I did some sleuthing and have found no information online about concerns where 1800petmeds is getting their medication, so I’m going to write this off as a rumor campaign by the greedy manufacturers.

    There’s a reason you can’t purchase your human medication directly from the doctor, too much room for corruption in the process.

  8. Dog Owner SAys said:

    Hey Vet Tech
    you people try to hide thay these drugs that You High Price are Special suppliers. WRONG Dude. these prescriptionc Can Be Filled at Any Wal-Mart SAvon or Any Drug Store.
    i got screwed by vet who chareged me $5.00 per pill (x twice a day) and Purchased the Full Bottle of 100 pills for $55.00 Now How About that.
    Times are Tough but Seems Not the Vets Pockets

  9. Gaius Gracchus said:

    We have more horror stories about greedy vets than we could ever begin to share. Over $30,000 worth of stories. And the issue is not even so much the money — the issue has been that they are doing unnecessary and dangerous things that cause greater harm or, in one case, death to the animals.

    It is one thing to charge too much for medicine that is needed. It is quite another to over-treat and incorrectly treat for the SOLE PURPOSE OF PROFIT.

    I wish I could tell you that this is a rare occurrence. It used to be, but now the greed that is rampant in other sectors of our economy has also infected what used to be a noble profession.

    At the point, we see most veterinarians as some of lowest forms of life on the planet. Taking advantage of people’s love for their animals out of greed is simply evil.

  10. Bill said:

    Vets make me puke, they are greedy and manipulative. They are always trying to sell you a program..ie, food, drugs, unnecessary tests etc…

  11. vet tech2 said:

    Bill, you are so mistaken! Vets do not make a lot of money. The average person graduating from my university has $180,000 in debt to pay off. It’s going to take me 20 years to pay off my student loans, but I’m ok with that because I’m following my calling. I will never get rich, but I deserve to make a decent living after putting in all the hard work of study in veterinary MEDICAL school. The reason why vets always try to “sell” you something is because it is our job to recommend the best medical care for your pet. My clinic always recommends yearly bloodwork for senior animals, to screen for age-related changes (as a pet cannot tell you if something is wrong). We also recommend tests for sick pets. This is because we can’t tell why your pet is sick by looking into a crystal ball. We need diagnostics. This is so we can recommend the best course of treatment and know the prognosis. If you have been unsatisfied with your veterinarian, I suggest finding a new one and having an open discussion about your expectations and his/her role as your pet’s doctor. It may be enlightening

  12. Another sadly uninformed consumer. Many vets do price match – however, pharmacy revenue has been an important component of animal hospitals keeping up with technology, paying staff (a meager wage – most of my friends are shocked when I tell them what a vet tech makes) and just keeping the doors open. Clients want cheap quality – that is the battle our industry is facing. You don’t want us to mark up the Rimadyl past a threshold you deem acceptable (did you ask the vet what they pay for Rimadyl?) but you want us to have everything needed to quickly and accurately diagnose and treat your pet. As a hospital administrator, I do match the internet. Not for pricing reasons, but because I want clients buying from us since we actually get the product from the manufacturer. We store it correctly and it hasn’t been tampered with. We are also trained to discuss the product with you. Most clients do not know that many products that end up on internet pharmacies actually come from hoarding DVM’s looking to make a buck. Take Frontline – Merial only sells to veterinarians. This means a DVM is buying from Merial, then sending it to the online pharmacy. That DVM is violating their buying agreement with Merial and when caught, will be banned from purchasing Merial products for life. Merial knows there is value in buying product from your vet – each blister pack or vial of their product is coded so that when they periodically buy from an online pharmacy looking for these unscrupulous DVM’s, they can tell who the first purchased the product. Also, if you can not prove you purchased your Merial product from a DVM, they absolutely will not give you a guarantee.

    The most amazing thing about online pharmacy purchases, or buying pet drugs at a human pharmacy, is that clients buy “cheap” and then when their pet has a reaction or they have questions about the drug they call us looking for free information. Online pharmacies and human pharmacists can not help you, and if they try, they are overstepping their medical and legal boundries. Had you just used your DVM, your product would be guaranteed, returnable, and when something happens or you have a question your staff is going to feel good about helping you because you supported the clinic.

    As an industry we all know where this will end up. Pet owners pay attention here – DVM’s are losing their pharmacies, (read revenue), and already service prices are going up to compensate for that loss. Don’t complain about impending $80 exam fees and $400 x-rays. Your “money saving” internet purchases have forced us into it. At the end of the day it’s a good thing. DVM’s will finally earn the revenue they deserve, and I guarantee you that you will have spent much less money over the life of your pet had you just purchased your meds through your DVM so he/she could keep service prices affordable. I have become a strong advocate for Pet Insurance so clients can afford to care for their pets when catastrophe strikes. What could have been a $500 bill is now $1000, buy hey, you got your Rimadyl cheap on the internet!!

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