Saving on Pet Medication Costs
Between Maggie’s cancer diagnosis and Jack’s recent bout of pancreatitis, we’ve been spending a ton of money not only on vet visits, but on medications. We are so grateful that our pet insurance plan from Healthy Paws has covered 90% of both Jack and Maggie’s treatment. It covers not only their vet visits and treatment, but it also covers their medication – and pet medication can be EXPENSIVE.
We usually use 1-800-PetMeds, an online service to order the dog’s medication. It’s easy and fast – they contact the vet for prescriptions and renewals and it gets delivered right to our home. All very customer friendly.
Maggie is on three different prescription medications and Jack is on one:
- Tramadol – $70 for 100 tablets
- Gabapentin – $25 for 100 capsules
- Carprofen – $65 for 60 tablets
- Proin – $70 – 180 tablets
That adds up pretty quick. Why are these prescription meds so expensive? One of the reasons is that many of the medications we give our dogs are also medications used by humans. Going through the process and expense of FDA approval can be quite expensive for a drug company – upwards of $500 million for a human drug FDA approvals compared to $20-100 million for an animal approved medication! I’m not making excuses for the pharma companies, but there is a higher bar for some of medications we give our pets than there was in the past.
In my research, I found an interesting report published by the Federal Trade Commission related to pet medication industry. It stated that 2013 retail sales of prescription and non prescription medications for dogs and cats was estimated at $7.6 billion. U.S. retail sales of companion animal pet medications are expected to grow to $10.2 billion by 2018. That is some phenomenal growth.
A real advantage for consumers is the knowledge that they don’t have to buy the medications from their vet. While it is convenient and necessary in an emergency, you should look to purchase your pet’s medications elsewhere – there are online channels (1-800 PetMeds), your local Costco or Walmart who sell the human-grade medications and even local pet stories sell flea remedies. It’s not that your vet sees selling prescriptions drugs as a money maker, but there is certainly a markup on the drugs and you can save some money going elsewhere.