Written by
Frank Ascot, Business expert
, 25 July 2018

Direct Line Pet Insurance has partnered with vet medicine provider Pet Drugs Online to provide pet owners with prescribed medication “up to 64% cheaper” than the average vet practice.

In a joint statement, the companies said:

“The service can supply medication for dogs, cats, horses, birds and other small pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs. As well as being a pet dispensary, Pet Drugs Online is qualified to offer extra support and advice to owners who fear their pet is unwell.”

‘Over the odds’

The statement continued:

“Research from Direct Line Pet Insurance reveals most pet owners are paying over the odds for medication because they believe they must purchase directly from their vet and do not consider shopping around. More than half (59%) of pet owners are unaware vets can write prescriptions, just like a GP, which can then be taken to an independent veterinary pharmacy or alternative veterinary practice to be filled.

“This partnership between Direct Line Pet Insurance and Pet Drugs Online offers owners the opportunity to shop around and find more a competitive price for the medication needed to treat their animal. In turn, this will mean their insurance policy limits may last much longer, as customers are able to spend significantly less on medication.”

‘Best price’

The statement added:

“While some vets charge a nominal prescription fee, pet owners that shop around for the best price on medication, rather than automatically purchasing from their veterinary surgery, can make significant savings even when paying the prescription fee to the vet. For example, owners with pets suffering from liver dysfunctions can find some medications to be 64% cheaper when purchased from an online supplier, which could result in tangible savings – especially if their pet requires a lengthy course of treatment.

“Similarly, some of the drugs used to treat congestive heart failure in dogs could cost 63% less if bought online, rather than from an average veterinary practice.”

Buying online offers savings - make sure you are dealing with an approved online vendor

The Daily Mirror had exposed the possibility that pet owning customers were getting ripped off in 2015 – pointing out that vets are charging hefty fees for medicines they could buy for a fraction of the price online - and taking advantage of owners parting with thousands of pounds for long-term medication when their much-loved animals become old, chronically ill or injured. Their advice was to ask the vet to write out a ­prescription for the drug your pet needs.

That will cost £8 to £12 for a six-month course. Then buy it yourself from an internet supplier to make huge savings. It provided the example of Metacam, an anti-inflammatory drug given to older dogs with ­arthritis, can be prescribed in an 180ml bottle that lasts a month and will cost £80 from a vet. That brings the cost to £960 a year. But a bottle of the same medication can be bought for £17.65 from an online pharmacy – saving a massive £748 a year.

The Mirror also pointed out the risk of dealing directly with websites pointing out that rogue sites regularly sell ­medicines without a prescription. The medicine in such instances often arrives without proper instructions and the medicine can be fake or not properly tested which can be dangerous to the pet. The industry regulator, Veterinary Medicines Directorate, endorses 38 animal ­pharmaceutical sites, which have to abide by its strict rules. Consumers can easily check if a site is reputable because the badge of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate will be displayed. The Directorate also has the power to remove licences and ban retailers who break the regulations from selling medicine.

Written by
Frank Business expert
, 25 July 2018

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