• Jackie Schletter

Is Yours a "Generic" Practice?

When I visit practices one of my favorite areas to lay eyes on is the pharmacy. Even with all of the education there is to be had regarding inventory best practices, the pharmacy still seems to be a struggle for many hospitals.

While it is up to the doctor and/or medical director to establish medical protocols, it is up to many managers to control the inventory that is being dispensed and ensure the meds are helping the practice turn a profit. One of the first things we can do to assist patients and owners is to ask our doctors if they would consider generic equivalents for short and long term medications.

I think the first impression many have when I bring this up is that I'm just looking at the dollar signs. They are right, dollars are part of the generic push - in fact, when I see food and pharmacy shelves stocked with "what if" and "we don't sell it a lot, but ..." items, all I see are piles of dollar bills that would be better utilized someplace else in the practice.

Generics however have another ring with your clients; it is not just about the money. It is also about the correlation they make when purchasing their own medications. Consider these recent research findings as presented by Dr. Steve Ettinger in a recent webinar:

~88% of human drugs dispensed are generic

~87% of pet owners would opt for an FDA approved generic

~72% of pet owners would prefer to fill their pet's short term medication with their veterinarian

~54% of pet owners would prefer to fill their pet's long term medication with their veterinarian

These findings are a powerful message that the veterinary industry should not ignore.

I would also love to see more veterinarians reject a generic based on their own experience and results logged in their adverse/sentinel logs rather than VIN gossip. I have often heard a doctor comment; "that generic has too many adverse reactions, we're going back to the brand name". When I ask to see the adverse logs or research to back up their experience, I have yet to see credible evidence - it's a gut reaction or VIN post that is driving the decision.

At the end of the day I truly believe we owe the clients generic choices to keep our pharmacy in hospital, make treatment more affordable for the client, and help boost the hospital bottom line so the practice can continue to offer its services to the community.

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