Photo (cc) by NeilGHamilton
A couple of months ago, I told you about 10 Tips to Safely Save on Prescriptions – and the best one was about $4 generics. For a month’s supply of medication, $4 is an unbeatable price.
But this deal isn’t just for humans anymore. Target and Kroger now offer a pet version of their original $4 generics program. The pet program, called PetRx, works just like the original.
The easy part
To learn if you could benefit from a PetRx program…
1. Find out if any Targets or Krogers in your area offer the program (not all locations do):
2. Check online to see if any of Fido’s or Fluffy’s medications come in $4 generics:
- Target’s $4 generics for dogs
- Target’s $4 generics for cats
- Kroger’s $4 generics for dogs and cats – this does not appear to be a complete list, so if you don’t see your pet’s generic med on it, ask your local store if the med comes in $4 generics.
3. If your local Target or Kroger offers PetRx, and if Fido’s and Fluffy’s meds come in $4 generics, drop off the prescription at your local store’s pharmacy.
The fine print
Of course, getting your pet’s generics for $4 may not be as easy as that 1-2-3. Your vet may be reluctant to write the prescription that you’ll need – because PetRx programs save you money but take income away from vets. Why?
Because unlike doctors, vets dispense and sell medications to their patients. So before the Internet gave us sites like 1-800-Pet-Meds, vets had no competition – and they often marked up the price of their prescriptions by a hefty margin.
In fact, prescription proceeds have traditionally constituted 20 percent of vets’ income, according to The Seattle Times. So $4 generic pet medications are the latest threat to their livelihood. If your vet hands you a prescription, they know you’re going to take it elsewhere, which means they won’t be able to sell it to you at a higher price.
But lawmakers could fix this. The Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2011 is a bill that’s currently being debated by a House of Representatives committee. The act would require vets to provide copies of pet prescriptions to pet owners. That is, if lobbying doesn’t doom it first.
The American Veterinary Medical Association – a nonprofit that represents more than 80,000 vets – is fighting the bill. Most recently, an AVMA blog post from last week rallied its members to contact Congress and let them know how vets feel about the bill.
But there’s nothing stopping pet owners from doing the same: You too can contact your House representatives and let them know how you feel about the Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2011, also known as HR 1406.