Email to - [email protected]
Post to - Prescription Team, VetMedsDirect, 53 Bilton Way, Luton, LU1 1UU.
or - Upload when prompted when you make your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need a written prescription from my own vet to buy antibiotics or other medicines from VetMedsDirect?
All antibiotics and many other medicines such as treatments for arthritis or heart conditions require a vet's prescription before we can sell them. This is due to their legal classification as POM-V and we cannot avoid this step. Many other medicines, such as treatments for worms and other parasites, do not need a written prescription from your vet (they are legally classed as POM-VPS or NFA-VPS.) Our staff at VetMedsDirect can sell these once we have received the appropriate information about the animal to be treated. The listings for all medicines on this website will show if they require your vet's prescription or not.
What is a prescription?
This is the written instruction from your vet explaining which medicine is required, the dose to be given, and details about the patient and person who prescribed it. Prescriptions from vets are essentially the same as those from doctors.
Can I download a template prescription for my vet to fill in?
Yes, you can get it from here. If your vet would rather use their own prescription template/format, then this is completely fine.
Who governs prescriptions and the supply of veterinary medicines for animals?
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is responsible for this. They are a British Government department attached to DEFRA. You can see their guidance notes regarding all aspects of Veterinary Medicinal Products by clicking here.
Which medicines require a prescription?
Generally medicines which can be harmful in some way if used incorrectly require a prescription. Others do not need this legal safeguard on their supply. On the VetMedsDirect website, all medicines are clearly labelled as “Prescription required” at the end of their description if this is the case.
Why do some medicines require a prescription?
Some medicines are legally classed in this way to safeguard your pet's health and the general public. They may cause harm if used incorrectly. You can buy them from your vet, a pharmacy, or an authorised internet outlet such as VetMedsDirect.co.uk.
How do I get a prescription?
You just have to ask your vet. The law changed in 2005 to require vets to allow their clients to buy medicines from the supplier of their choice. Your vet will be familiar with this procedure now, and will provide a signed prescription on request. To save your vet's time, you can print off a blank prescription for to take to your vet to be filled in. You then need to send this to us before we can despatch any “prescription only” medicines.
Will my vet charge me for providing a prescription?
This used to be illegal, but now vets often do charge. You will have to check with your vet what his/her fee will be.
Can my vet insist on an extra check-up, or blood test, before providing a written prescription?
Only if they would require that same check-up if they were going to sell you the medicine themselves. They cannot insist on extra check-ups for clients who choose to buy elsewhere. Most vets will provide repeat prescriptions for long-term medications (such as arthritis or heart treatments) for 6 months. After that length of time, they usually insist on seeing your animal before any more medicine can be purchased, wherever you choose to buy it from. This is generally accepted as the correct procedure under current legislation, though it is up to your vet to decide on the frequency of check-ups.
Do I need a prescription for 'Prescription Diets'?
No, you definitely do not. However these diets are often unsuitable for normal, healthy animals, so you should seek professional advice before feeding them.
Do I need a prescription for every order?
You can ask your vet to write a “repeat prescription”, which allows you to buy the named medicines a specified number of times. Most vets are happy to supply a prescription which will allow you to buy 6 months worth of medicines. (So the stated quantity of tablets for instance might last for one month, but it might be authorised for five repeats, hence a full 6 month’s worth can be purchased using the same prescription.) You can then choose to buy them all at once, or ask us to keep the prescription on file and order one month’s worth as you need them.
Can my vet refuse to issue a prescription?
Legally a vet is obliged, on request, to issue a written prescription for a medicine they would be prepared to sell to you themselves.
Can I return prescription medicines if my animal no longer needs them?
We no longer accept returns of any prescription medication, for any reason.
This is due to VMD regulations regarding the safe dispensing of medication - if it has left our building we cannot guarantee it is in a safe condition to dispense, therefore we cannot accept it back. Your vet will be able to safely dispose of the medication.
How long does a prescription last for?
Prescriptions are only valid for a total maximum of 6 months (unless controlled) from the date of issue. All medication must be purchased from the prescription before the 6 months, after this time has passed the prescription will become invalid.
Can I request a prescription from my vet for a particular medicine?
You can make such a request, but legally only vets can actually decide which prescription-only medicines are to be used in any particular animal. If you find something which you believe would be beneficial, or cheaper than the medicine your vet has prescribed, then most vets will happily consider such a request. They still have the final say. Obviously if your vet does not seem to be helpful about anything, you can seek a second opinion from another vet.
What additional restrictions are there for Controlled Drugs (such as Epiphen)?
Prescriptions for certain medicines don't quite follow the rules shown above. There is only a small handful of these and they will show on our website as a "Scheduled Drug". The differences regarding prescriptions between these medicines and most of the prescription medicines listed on the website are as follows:
We are sorry for the inconvenience caused by these extra restrictions, but these are the regulations. Unfortunately we cannot make any exceptions, regardless of the situation.
Where can I find more information about Authorised Medications?
Information about all medicines authorised for use in the UK can be found in the form of a "Summary of Product Characteristics" (SPC) on the VMD website. Follow this link to be taken to the page where you can search their database for the SPC using the brand name of the medicine you are interested in. This is in addition to the product datasheet which can be found under the description of the product on the VetMedsDirect website.
How can I officially report a suspected problem, side effect or lack of effect regarding a medicine I have used?
Occasionally some sort of side effect, or other adverse response, will result from the use of medication in animals. It is important that such events are reported, assessed and acted on where necessary. This is the best way for a potential problem to be sorted out for the benefit of all animals in future. Anyone can report a suspected adverse reaction (vet, nurse, animal owner or keeper, etc) from this page on the VMD website.