RCVS regulations regarding prescriptions

The RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons is very clear that a vet cannot refuse to give you a prescription to obtain your veterinary medicines elsewhere and that they must not discriminate against you if you choose to do so. The relevant section from the code of conduct is as follows:

9.27  Veterinary surgeons may make a reasonable charge for written prescriptions. (Prescriptions for POM-V medicines may be issued only for animals under the care of the prescribing veterinary surgeon and following his or her clinical assessment of the animals.) Clients should be provided with adequate information on medicine prices. Clients should be informed of any significant changes to the practice’s charges for prescriptions or medicines at the earliest opportunity to do so.

9.28  Clients may obtain relevant veterinary medicinal products from the veterinary surgeon, or may ask for a prescription and obtain medicines from another veterinary surgeon or pharmacy. Veterinary surgeons may wish to direct clients who are considering obtaining medicines from an online retailer to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s Accredited Internet Retailer Scheme (AIRS).

9.29  The Supply of Relevant Veterinary Medicinal Products Order came into force on 31 October 2005 and is enforced by the Competition and Markets Authority. It implements recommendations from the Competition Commission and provides that veterinary surgeons must not discriminate between clients who are supplied with a prescription and those who are not, in relation to fees charged for other goods or services.

In the first instance, you should always discuss this with your vet and point out that the code of practice is very clear regarding the issue of writing prescriptions.

If you feel their response is not in line with the Code of Conduct you can raise your concern through the RCVS website https://animalowners.rcvs.org.uk/concerns/i-want-to-raise-a-concern-about-a-veterinary-surgeon/

We understand that the relationship between you and your vet is a very close and supportive one, but as a business with low margins it is important that you save money where you can.

1st November 2021

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