How do I buy prescription medicines?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a prescription?
This is the written instruction from your vet explaining which drug is required, the dose to be given, and details about the patient and person who prescribed it. Prescriptions from vets are essentially the same as those from doctors.
Can I download a template prescription for my vet to fill in?
Yes, you can get it from here. If your vet would rather use their own prescription template/format, then this is completely fine.
What is the name of the law that governs prescriptions and the supply of veterinary medicines?
The Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2009. For a printable (116 page document) that you can refer to, see this page. The document is in PDF format and so you will need a free PDF reader to open it, such as Adobe Reader (if you don't already have it as it comes pre-installed on many computers these days).
Which medicines require a prescription?
Generally drugs which can be harmful in some way if used incorrectly require a prescription. Others do not need this legal safeguard on their supply. On VioVet website, all medicines are clearly labelled as “Prescription required” at the end of their description if this is the case.
Why do some medicines require a prescription?
Some medicines are legally classed in this way to safeguard your pet's health and the general public. They may cause harm if used incorrectly. You can buy them from your vet, a pharmacy, or an authorised internet outlet such as VioVet.co.uk.
How do I get a prescription?
You just have to ask your vet. The law changed in 2005 to require vets to allow their clients to buy drugs from the supplier of their choice. Your vet will be familiar with this procedure now, and will provide a signed prescription on request. To save your vet's time, you can print off a blank prescription for to take to your vet to be filled in. You then need to send this to us before we can despatch any “prescription only” medicines.
Will my vet charge me for providing a prescription?
This used to be illegal, but now vets often do charge. You will have to check with your vet what his/her fee will be.
Can my vet insist on an extra check-up, or blood test, before providing a written prescription?
Only if they would require that same check-up if they were going to sell you the drug themselves. They cannot insist on extra check-ups for clients who choose to buy elsewhere. Most vets will provide repeat prescriptions for long-term medications (such as arthritis or heart treatments) for 6 months. After that length of time, they usually insist on seeing your animal before any more medicine can be purchased, wherever you choose to buy it from. This is generally accepted as the correct procedure under current legislation, though it is up to your vet to decide on the frequency of check-ups.
Do I need a prescription for 'Prescription Diets'?
No, you definitely do not. However these diets are often unsuitable for normal, healthy animals, so you should seek professional advice before feeding them.
Do I need a prescription for every order?
You can ask your vet to write a “repeat prescription”, which allows you to buy the named medicines a specified number of times. Most vets are happy to supply a prescription which will allow you to buy 6 months worth of medicines. (So the stated quantity of tablets for instance might last for one month, but it might be authorised for five repeats, hence a full 6 month’s worth can be purchased using the same prescription.) You can then choose to buy them all at once, or ask us to keep the prescription on file and order one month’s worth as you need them.
Can my vet refuse to issue a prescription?
Legally a vet is obliged, on request, to issue a written prescription for a medicine they would be prepared to sell to you themselves.
Can I return prescription drugs if my animal no longer needs them?
This is generally possible. As long as they are not fridge items, we will accept them back for a full refund within 7 days of purchase. After that any returns are at our discretion but we will generally accept them back for a 90% refund.
Can I request a prescription from my vet for a particular drug?
You can make such a request, but legally only vets can actually decide which prescription-only medicines are to be used in any particular animal. If you find something which you believe would be beneficial, or cheaper than the drug your vet has prescribed, then most vets will happily consider such a request. They still have the final say. Obviously if your vet does not seem to be helpful about anything, you can seek a second opinion from another vet.
What additional restrictions are there for Controlled Drugs (such as Epiphen)?
Prescriptions for certain drugs don't quite follow the rules shown above. There is only a small handful of these and they will show on our website as a "Scheduled Drug". The differences regarding prescriptions between these drugs and most of the prescription drugs listed on the website are as follows:
- The full quantity of medication allowed on the prescription must be purchased within 28 days of the date signed - not 6 months.
- The original prescription must be posted to us - we cannot accept faxed, emailed, uploaded, photocopies, etc for legal reasons.
- The prescription must be written out by a UK qualified vet and they cannot be shipped abroad.