How To Ask Your Vet for A Prescription

Some people might feel a little uncomfortable asking their vet for a prescription, but every day tens of thousands of people do just that, and while in Australia veterinarians are not obliged by law to write a prescription when requested, most are happy to do so when asked.

Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when asking for a prescription:

  • Most vets love animals and treating them, and became a vet because they loved consults, diagnosis, doing procedures and surgery, not because they wanted to sell products or dispense drugs.
  • Many vets don't mind reducing their cost of keeping pet medicines on site (especially those medicines they don't prescribe often) and they are happy that the task of processing, labelling and dispensing them is done by someone else (as long as it’s a qualified pharmacist, like the ones that work with PetScripts).
  • Vets understand that having a pet can be expensive, especially if costly but life-saving medicines are required, so they understand that it's in the best interests of the pet that its owner can source affordable medicine.
  • A quick call to the vet clinic will usually help you confirm whether your vet writes prescriptions and whether there is any charge.
  • Some vets charge a small prescription fee but often that will be less than the savings you make buying the product from us (particularly when you take into account any repeats). A recent survey* reported that over 50% of vets charge a prescription fee of less than $20 including 12% of vets that don't charge any fee at all (other than their usual consult fee).
  • Often writing a prescription and charging a small fee is good business for vets because it can be just as, and sometimes more, profitable than selling prescription products themselves, after taking into account cost of stock, wastage, holding costs, labour and all the other costs associated with keeping and dispensing medicines.
  • Always be polite and be upfront about your reasons for asking for a prescription (to save money, and for the convenience of home delivery). There is nothing untoward about asking for a prescription, and if the vet doesn't feel it's medically appropriate, for example, because your pet needs the medicine right away and the vet has it on hand, he or she will explain that to you.
  • Most vets will feel a lot more comfortable about writing a prescription if you explain that you intend to buy the products from the qualified Australian pharmacists at PetScripts (and not from overseas or from a website that doesn't insist on a prescription or that products are dispensed by pharmacists). Most vets have heard of us but if they haven't, your vet should feel free to call PetScripts if they want to confirm any information for themselves.
  • Vets write prescriptions all the time, and it's always been part of a busy vet's role. Even those vets that keep and sell prescription products, still write prescriptions for products they don't keep in stock, for medicines that need preparing by a compound pharmacist or when a pet and its owner is travelling or can't return to the vet to collect additional medicine. A recent survey* reported that over 87% of vet practices/clinics write prescriptions for the client to fill outside the clinic.
  • Don't ask a veterinarian for a prescription for a pet they haven't examined or isn't under their care. Ethically they can't (except in very rare circumstances) and they will refuse you.
  • While some vets do have a prescription pad, there is no required format and some vets don't keep a prescription pad handy, so print out and take a copy of our Prescription Template with you
  • If your vet is unwilling to write a prescription or will only write a prescription if you pay a fee you feel is excessive, you are entitled to seek out another vet, but always ask first, because a vet is entitled to charge you for a consult, whether or not they decline to give a prescription.

To help your vet, you can print out this Prescription Form and take it with you as it contains all the information your vet needs to give us.

* Australian Veterinarians and Pet Prescriptions (attitudes and practices) Survey 2018 - Pacific Research and Markets