10 Ways To Save On Pet Medications
Medications for preventative care and chronic pet diseases can certainly add up, putting a real dent in your wallet. Here are some tips on how to save on pet medications.
My dog, Max, has GME; an auto-immune disease that, combined with the back problems he also has, requires him to take 6 daily medications (some twice per day), receive chemotherapy once per month, and go to rehab twice per week. His Granulomatous meningoencephalitis is chronic, and expected to be fatal. The life expectancy of a dog diagnosed with GME is 15 days to 3 years (tight window!). What keeps Max’s white blood cells from attacking him? Medications.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Americans spend over $48 billion on their pets each year, $7 billion of which is for prescription and over-the-counter pet medications.
To make the most informed decision possible on pet medications, make certain you are aware of your state’s laws regarding prescriptions. The American Veterinary Medical Association has an updated listing of state laws and statutes that require a veterinarian to write a prescription for your pet so you can shop around. These are the FDA guidelines. Currently the Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2014, which would require “the prescriber of an animal drug to provide a copy of the prescription to the pet owner before offering to fill it or dispensing it and, upon request, to a pharmacy or any other person designated to act on behalf of the pet owner” ‘Free of charge’, appears stalled in Congress.
Now, let’s get to those 10 Ways To Save On Pet Medications:
● Before you engage the services of a vet, make certain they are willing (if your state doesn’t mandate it) to write a prescription for your animal for all drugs they might recommend for that animal. This way, you aren’t surprised if your vet refuses you a written prescription to get your pet’s drugs elsewhere, when needed.
● Pet Insurance When you first get your pet, pet insurance may be one of the last things you thing about. But maybe it should be your first order of business? Like all insurance, pet insurance is a hedge against potentially devastating health bills where you way the cost of insurance and deductibles against the potential payout. Remember to read the policy closely as pet insurance has deductibles, payout limits and exclusions, and pets past a certain age may not be eligible for pet insurance.
● If the drug is very expensive ask if there is a human equivalent of the same medication that might be cheaper (provided it is safe for your pet).
● Buy generic: as pattens expire on pet drugs, some of the flea and tick meds have become very inexpensive in generic form over the name brand medications.
● Walgreens Prescription Savings Club Max has had diagnosed back pain since he was 18 months old. This has required him to take Rimadyl in the past. We got his Rimadyl from the vet, or from Walgreens. Walgreens is not only less expensive than our vet, but we can get pet medicine refills at nearly any Walgreens pharmacy in the United States (there are some medications that are narcotics that don’t transfer state lines). AARP, Save a Pet RX and AAA all have pet saving discount cards.
● Along that line, check out Target, WalMart, Costco, CVS, Rite Aid, and your local grocery store’s pharmacy. They may have $4 medications, or deeply discounted meds when compared to the medication prices offered by your vet. Just remember that you do need a written prescription to fill these pet medications at a pharmacy. Our vet has even called over a refill or original prescription for Max a number of times so I don’t need to pick up that physical prescription at the office.
● Veterinary Teaching Hospital We were stunned at how much less expensive getting Max’s meds at Cornell was than at the vet or even the pharmacy! Cornell has an in-house compounding pharmacy, as well as dispensing prescription animal drugs from various companies. I believe the key is this is a teaching veterinary hospital, and not a vet owned hospital.
● Buy online from a Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, a program run by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. These sites comply with federal and state licensing requirements and quality assurance.
● Rebates: if Max’s flea and tick liquid isn’t offering a B6G2 deal, they are usually offering a rebate. Refunded money is money in my pocket!
● Online coupons: check the website of the drug manufacturer for possible coupon savings. These are usually discount cards that can be redeemed at the pharmacy or vet for a discounted price, or discount savings.
We all want to keep our pets happy and healthy. It is even better when we can do so without breaking the family budget in the process.
Previous Max posts (read in order from the bottom up):
● Max’s GME Update, One Year Later
● Max’s GME Update, Month 11
● Max’s GME Update
● An Update on Mr Max, March 2015
● Updating Max’s GME
● An Update On Mr. Max
● Last 2014 Trip To Cornell For Max
● Back To Cornell
● Max’s First Cornell Follow-up Visit
● Max Exercises More Than I Do!
● Updating the Mr. Max Situation
● A Mr. Max Update
● Mr. Max, Mr. Max, Mr. Max
● It’s A Mr. Max Post!
● For more Library Reading posts on Ann’s Entitled Life, click here.
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Good information. I would also add that if you have Publix in your area, they have some prescriptions for free.
Debb F says
Great info! I would just like to add …
Many medications are cheaper at a local compounding pharmacy. I am not sure if it is the ” teaching” veterinary hospital as much as it is the compounding pharmacy. You see compounding pharmacies can sell you only the prescribed dose for your specific animal and give you that amount. And dispense it that way, instead of making you buy something by the labeled container when you might not need it all. I learned this while trying to price insulin for my diabetic cat, and again for an antibiotic for my dog. Walmart was going to give me a whole bottle of insulin for my cat, but it only last 30 days and we would not use even half of it and then have to throw it out. The compounding pharmacy gave me this small little vile just for my cat with the perfect amount plus 4 extra doses in case I lost a dose. Compounding pharmacies have large supplies of the ingredients it takes to make these prescriptions, so they are not affected by price surges due to supply and demand. That is what my vet explained to me. There are many compounding pharmacies in the USA.
Also I would add this. Tell your vet about your financial situation slightly. No one wants to hear a break down of your budget, but we were laid off and had no income and told the vet that and he helped us by suggesting treatments that were more effort but less expensive. Many vets take carecredit and that I hear is one year interest free, and it works just like a credit card, you make payments but if you pay it off in one year, there is no interest.
Good advice to tell your vet if you have money issues paying for your pet meds. I once had a cat that needed antibiotic cream in her eyes. The vet said I could use Neosporin. He said it was cheaper but the same thing and it is ok to put in their eyes.
Excellent advice on telling the vet if you are having budget concerns, Debb! Max’s rehab vet takes carecredit… they are a vet hospital too and preform a lot of surgeries, so it is a great way to help finance an unexpected pet surgery.
Jay @CraftySpices says
Interesting way of looking at things and saving money along the way.
Dog Names says
Very good advice, thanks for posting.
Elise Cohen Ho says
Pet Insurance can be a major lifesaver if something awful happens. Vet bills can be through the roof.
Ellen | If It Brings You Joy says
Great ideas. I had no idea that it was possible to get pet meds at human pharmacies. With two dogs, I’m always looking for ways to save on expenses – although they’re worth every penny!