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Buying Online Drugs for your Pets is Risky Business

20 October 2015

AUSTRALIA - Veterinary medications bought online can put Australian pets at risk according to peak veterinary organisation, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA).

AVA President, Dr Robert Johnson said that medication bought this way can be substandard or counterfeit products that can be very harmful for your pet, and in extreme cases, lead to death.

“Quality and safety can’t necessarily be assured if veterinary medicines are bought from overseas or through unknown internet pharmacies.

“Australia has strict controls for the manufacture and regulation of veterinary medicines to ensure these medicines are safe for pets when used in accordance with the instruction on the label,” he said.

According to the World Health Organisation, in over 50 per cent of cases, medicines purchased over the internet from illegal sites that conceal their physical address have been found to be counterfeit.

Many leading authorities such as the Therapeutic Goods Authority and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission advise the following when considering buying medication online:

  • Never buy medicines from a website that does not provide its full postal address
  • Only buy from pharmacies that require a prescription before providing prescription only remedies
  • Be suspicious of wild claims.

“Cheap human medications from disreputable online retailers have been around for a while, but it’s a growing concern for vets as more unregulated animal medicines become available.”

Pet owners receiving medications for their own animals by mail are technically importing them and can be liable for a fine if the medications are not registered in Australia. Pet medicines are regulated by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.


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