Can a vet refuse to write a prescription?

Original Question: Our pug has an eye condition and dry eyes. He requires 2 medications, 2 - 4 times a day and the medications are expensive. The vet sells the medication but refuses to provide a prescription so we can purchase it elsewhere. Is this reasonable/the norm for vet services? Are there options? - Boyd

Can a vet refuse to write a prescription? Mar 5, 2018

Hi Boyd,

I love this question so thanks for sending it.

Let me start by saying, if you request a written prescription from your veterinarian in Ontario, he or she is legally required to give it to you. The College of Veterinarians of Ontario who license and also discipline us have decided that this is an important rule that we have to abide by. Keep in mind that veterinarians are allowed to charge you a prescription-writing fee. This may cost around $10 or $15. They are allowed to charge that when they write a prescription but there are many veterinarians that do not charge it.

I would recommend that you speak to your veterinarian about this regulation. Keep in mind that they may not be aware that it exists. If you are still having trouble then I would encourage you to contact the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, otherwise known as the CVO. I assume that the Colleges in other provinces follow this rule as well but you would have to check with them individually if that’s where you currently reside.

I am always amazed at veterinarians who decline to give a written prescription. I think it’s better for their practice to make the client satisfied then to lose them over a small fee like this.

Thanks for your question and good luck.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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