Drs. Foster & Smith dispenses wrong drug to my dog

flyingflowerMay 25, 2010

Is there a gov't agency I can report this pharmacy to (Drs. Foster & Smith) so they know a careless error was made dispensing medication?

They sent the wrong medication in a bottle that was mislabeled as the correct medication. This could have had serious consequences for my 17 yr old dog if I didn't call to ask them why the pills were in a bottle this time and not in the usual blister pack manufactured by the company who makes it. I thought the worst they had done was switch the brand name with a generic without consulting me but then I find out it wasn't even the generic. The pill itself looked so different, instead of a white hexagon shape it was a long skinny peach colored pill. You couldn't get any farther in appearance, only someone with little knowledge/experience could make such a careless mistake.

Since this is an online pharmacy there's no way for customers to know who these businesess are hiring to dispense medications. Are these qualified pharmacy technicians or high school students working behind closed doors? I was lucky I caught the error because I knew what the pill should look like. Had I not known and continued giving it to him the outcome could have been very bad. That's why I'd like this made public so others know to be very cautious when ordering from any online pharmacy.

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That's scary !! thanks for the warning.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 8:31PM
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Oh wow, thank goodness you caught that! I had a problem with them the one and only time I ordered through their pharmacy, luckily it wasn't near as severe. I would call the state licensing board for the state their located in to inquire who you should talk to.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 9:28PM
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Not sure who you could report it to. That is scary! We never use online pharmacies for us or our pup. The rare occasions we need meds for her, we go through our vet.

Glad you caught the mistake!


    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 9:50PM
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Very scary. We get all meds directly from the vet. My 6 yr. old lab takes a med that has changed size and shape, but never color. I try to remember to open the meds while I am paying and I always ask if something changes in appearance. So fortunate that you realized this before you gave it to your dog.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 6:39AM
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This particular drug he's on is very expensive which is why I go through an online pet pharmacy to get it. The vet would charge DOUBLE... $67 vs. ~$125. And that's every month.

I thought by going through one of the more well known companies that would decrease the likelihood of a mistake like this happening but clearly that makes no difference.

I did give my dog one of the pills actually. Something wasn't right and it kept nagging at me so I called after he took it. Given his advanced age I was pretty upset about what it might do to him. They shipped his med overnight so he would only miss one day of the pill he was supposed to get. What angers me now is that no one I spoke with would tell me only qualified, pharmacy technicians administer medication at their facility. Their silence tells me they DON'T!

The pill he took made him very groggy, he slept a lot that day. I had to hold up his belly and help him walk from his bed to the patio door when he needed to go to the bathroom. After a good nights sleep he's back to normal but I'll never forget this and I'm taking it as my own wake-up call to be on guard in the future and to not trust anyone in this business.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 12:09PM
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Yikes! Were you able to identify the medication he took?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 1:18PM
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Yes, after I described the pill and the numbers/letter on it they were able to identify what it was...an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. He's never taken a pill like that before since he doesn't have arthritis.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 1:46PM
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You could contact the Federal Drug Administration. If they're not the correct reporting agency, they can probably tell you who is.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:20PM
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The Food and Drug Administration regulates veterinary products. I don't know whether it extends to dispensing or not, but as Laurie said, it's the place to start.

Here is a link that might be useful: FDA

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:46PM
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Reseller ratings - at the link below, you can & should add your comment.

I would be really ticked off if my animal was hurt by their mistake.

Here is a link that might be useful: Store rating

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 3:00PM
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Thanks for telling me about the rating website, I didn't know about that. I will definitely make comments there. Are there other nation rating sites where customers can review companies? Around here we have Angie's List and YELP but I don't think they're nationwide. It's about time customers have a forum to warn others. Too long companies have been allowed to continue with their practices without fear of it getting out to the public. If they know a whistle will be blown on them when they make a mistake don't you think they'll make every effort to assure it doesn't happen? Till now they've been allowed to fart in an empty room, look around and say, "sure glad no one heard that".

I found the FDA's website a can of worms so I decided to call and leave my number instead. I wasn't even expecting to hear from them but I did. I was told they don't regulate pharmacies for that I must contact the State Board of Pharmacies in the state the business resides in. Which means I need to contact the board in Wisconsin. So that's what I'll do next.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 9:15PM
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I've had more than one incident in which prescriptions for ME have been improperly dispensed, at large, well-staffed pharmacies (the local independent pharmacy micro-chain, well, sucks - they have a very small stock on hand so they have to order just about everything, which can often take days, and the techs are some of the rudest people in town which given this town is saying a LOT!). Luckily I know what my meds are supposed to look like, and if I've got something new or don't recognize what I've gotten (usually because they've changed manufacturers) I use rxlist.com's Pill Identifier utility to make sure I've got what I'm supposed to be getting. Pharmacy errors are surprisingly common.

Is your dog on a veterinary-only medication or could a "human" medication be substituted? I ask because my cat was on Prozac (not kidding) for years and getting it from the vet was something like 5x the cost of the human generic, which we could handle with a little trickery, or about 4x a pediatric custom-flavored liquid which we could dose more accurately with a syringe although I'm sure she'd have preferred liver or cheese to tutti frutti! LOL So vet just wrote me a prescription to take to the regular pharmacy. (Then she became utterly impossible to pill and we had to go to compounded products from Veterinary Pharmacies of America - flavored liquids, chewy treats, flavored tablets, and even transdermal gels which is what we eventually settled on. But it was still comparable in cost to getting the durn critter-version-of-Prozac from the vet!)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 4:11PM
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I also get another RX filled for my dog from Foster & Smith so after this incident happened I called them to verify the pills they sent were accurate. I tell the woman I am going to read the number on the pill to her and I want her to look it up and tell me what medication it is. She asks me the name of the Rx on the bottle. I told her no, you don't understand, I'm asking you to tell me what I have here w/o looking up the prescription number. Just look up the number on the pill. Then the dingaling asks me for the name of the medication! I repeated, NO, I want YOU to tell me what this pill is SUPPOSED to be without looking up my name and the Rx number. Good grief my dog's IQ was higher than hers. Eventually she comprehended what I was doing and put me on hold and then came back with the name of the medication. I still don't know if she cheated and just looked up my name. So it was probably a waste of time.

But now that I've read johnmari's post I see there is a website I can do this myself without calling the pharmacy. Even better. From now on I'm looking up the medication and verifying it from a second source so I know for sure I've been given the correct medication.

Some of my dog's meds have human substitutes but not this one. He takes the doggy version of Arisept. You may not believe this but they now have senility medication for dogs. It's new and really does work which is why I want to continue giving it to him. Without it he's vicious and forgets all the training he ever had but on the medication he's docile and remembers that he's supposed to hold it till he gets out to the lawn. He still gets stuck in corners though so it's not a miracle drug but it's better than nothing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Anipryl = Doggy Aricept

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 11:13PM
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I think these very issues are why most vets do not encourage internet med dispensing. You're taking some risks in your costs savings.

As far as your phone conversation, I'd be surprised if the order person on the phone had at their disposal an entire open pharmacy where they could go pull pills off a shelf. Most likely she was in Bangladesh and the meds were in a warehouse in Topeka, KS.

It's a mail order catalog, not a pharmacy. I ordered an aquarium heater from them, and they were very nice when I had to replace it, but no way would I expect the 20 something girl I talked to on the phone to be able to understand or decipher what meds I was supposed to get based on a number stamped on the pill.

I'm scared sometimes when I take meds for myself - who knows with all the generics running around whether those are the right pills or not! I guess I should start going to that website and double checking any prescription filled for my pets or myself.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 8:00PM
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Regular pharmacies can have the same problems. I've received the wrong prescription multiple times and once it could have been life-threatening. Who knows what happened to the other guy the time when the two of us were transposed (got someone's antibiotics). You also have to watch over hospital staff. They sometimes dispense the wrong meds, wrong dosage, or even forget altogether. This even happened when my father was supposed to be on oxygen.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 9:54PM
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Regulation is subpar on all aspects of the drug industry as well as food, regardless of if you buy it online, through the mail, or in person. Do you live under a rock? Pharmaceutical mistakes (the fatal ones anyway) are published and broadcast on a near daily basis. Common sense says to always check your pet's, and your own, medications before taking. Or just pay the vet twice as much for him to check for you. Times have changed. Even if your pet died as a result, the government wouldn't pay very much attention. Good luck trying to change that, though.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 5:13PM
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