The American Veterinary Medical Association rebutted Walmart's recent message in support of H.R. 1406, the Fairness to Pet Owners Act, in a statement issued to AVMA members today.
The bill was introduced on April 6, 2011, in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, and Terry Lee, R-Neb., and was referred to the Subcommittee on Health, where it has remained. The act would require a veterinarian to do the following when prescribing a drug for animals:
• Provide the pet owner a copy of the veterinary prescription;
• Provide the pet owner with a written disclosure that the pet owner may fill the prescription through the prescriber (if available) or through another pharmacy determined by the pet owner; and
• Provide or verify the prescription by electronic or other means consistent with applicable state law, if requested by any person designated to act on behalf of the pet owner.
The act would prohibit veterinarians from setting the following conditions for providing a copy of the prescription or verifying a prescription:
• Requiring the purchase of the drug from the prescriber or from another person;
• Requiring payment in addition to, or as a part of, the fee for an examination and evaluation; and
• Requiring the pet owner to sign a waiver or disclaim liability of the prescriber for the accuracy of the veterinary prescription, or delivering to the pet owner a notice waiving or disclaiming such liability.
The AMVA called the bill “unnecessary and redundant” because the association has a long-standing policy of encouraging veterinarians to write a prescription in lieu of dispensing when asked by a client. The AVMA encourages its members to contact their representatives and tell them to oppose the bill. The AMVA’s issue brief on the bill can be found on the AMVA website.
Walmart said in its message supporting the bill that consumers “have no right under federal law to receive a copy of their pets’ prescriptions.” The message also said the act “simply requires veterinarians to give pet owners a copy of their own pets’ prescriptions.” The message can be viewed on the Walmart Community website.