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Prescription Drug FAQ
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I’m buying a practice and the drug inventory. What do I have to do?

If Schedule II drugs are involved, the veterinarian seller must complete DEA Form 222 to reflect the transfer of controlled substances. The veterinarian and the new veterinarian both keep a copy and the third copy goes to DEA.

If Schedule III through V drugs are involved, the veterinarian seller must prepare a bill of sale and list the name and quantity of each drug being transferred. The seller and the new veterinarian owner keep a copy and the third copy goes to DEA.  

Send DEA copies or call for more information: Diane Gibson, DEA, Group D-145, 99 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011, (212) 337-1593.

My car was broken into and my prescription pad stolen. It has my DEA number on it. I reported the theft to the police. What else should I do?

Call the Pharmacists Society of New York at (800) 632-8822 and tell them where the theft occurred. They will notify area pharmacists to be aware. A DEA number is not required on all prescriptions, only on triplicate prescription forms. In the future, print only your license number on your prescription pads.

A colleague sent one of his clients to me to get a drug I carry but which he doesn’t. Can I sell it to his client?

No. The law provides that a veterinarian may only dispense or administer prescription or controlled drugs when he/she has a working knowledge of the condition and treatment regimen of a particular patient. This is known as the veterinarian/client/patient relationship.

Who can fill veterinarian prescriptions?

Only licensed pharmacists can fill veterinary prescriptions. Veterinarians can dispense, administer and prescribe medicine. A veterinarian may not fill another veterinarian’s prescription without first establishing a veterinarian/client/patient relationship him/herself.

I don’t need a full case of a certain drug. Can I get what I need from a colleague? Can I send the client to see my colleague to get the medicine?

No to both questions. Veterinarians cannot distribute drugs or sell drugs without a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship.

I own two practices. Do I need two DEA numbers in order to buy drugs for both practices?

Yes. Veterinarians cannot order or received controlled substances at one practice to be taken to, stored at, or used at another veterinary office. Controlled substances must be ordered by and shipped to the location at which they will be stored and used. Drugs must be ordered under the DEA number of the veterinarian registered at that location. You don’t need a separate registration  if you only prescribe at the second office and don’t administer or dispense.

When can I write a prescription for a controlled substance for a three-month supply?

Controlled substance prescriptions are limited to a 30-day supply except that up to a three-month supply may be prescribed for treatment of certain conditions: panic disorders; minimal brain dysfunction (hyperkinesis) in patients under 16; convulsive disorders; relief of pain in patients 65 or older suffering from diseases known to be chronic and incurable; and narcolepsy.

If you want to write a 3-month prescription for phenobarbital, for example, for seizure control, write "Code C- for seizure control” on the script. For answers to questions about controlled substances, contact the Bureau of Controlled Substances, (518) 402-0707.

A three-month prescription may be refilled once. A 30-day supply prescription may be refilled five times.
Are animal shelter employees authorized to handle Ketamine now that it’s a Controlled Substance III?

Yes. Animal shelter employees who attend a Department of Health program on the storage, use and administration of Ketamine and Phenobarbital are authorized to use these products. They are responsible for all record keeping.

How can animal control officers get Ketamine?

Animal control officers have no separate authorization to obtain or use Ketamine as do animal shelter employees (see above question). ACOs would have to get a prescription from a veterinarian in order to obtain Ketamine. Now that Ketamine is a Controlled Substance III, most veterinarians are unwilling to write prescriptions for it.

How should I dispose of expired prescription drugs? 

The NYS Board for Pharmacy writes: "There are no laws, rules or regulations pertaining to the
of disposal of prescription drugs. We suggest they secure a medical waste company to handle the destruction of prescription drugs.”  Depending on the material and the services available, the distributor may allow the product to be returned, and will give you instructions on their return procedures.

The distributor says its products is limited to sale by veterinarians. When can I sell it without a veterinarian/client/patient relationship?

When the label says "For veterinary use only,” it can be purchased over-the-counter. Product labels that state that sale of the product is restricted to licensed veterinarians or that the use of the product is restricted by or on the order of a veterinarian are federally regulated and can only be dispensed, administered or prescribed with a valid VCPR.

Do I have to pay sales tax when I buy prescription drugs?

Yes. Veterinarians should pay sales tax on EVERYTHING they purchase for the practice unless: the veterinarian has registered as a sales tax vendor with the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance and obtained a resale certificate, or the veterinarian intends to use the products for non-medical purposes, and charge the sales tax to his or her clients.  

If a veterinarian is purchasing an item that is a drug or medicine that will be used on food producing animals, it is exempt from sales tax, but the veterinarian should pay sales tax at time of purchase and claim a credit or refund from NYSDTF.

A client wants to return pills I dispensed last month for her dog. Can I?

No. The Regents Rules under Pharmacy regulations, define unprofessional conduct as:  "Placing in stock of any pharmacy any part of any prescription compounded or dispensed which is returned by a patient (client)..."  Depending on your relationship with the client, you may want to accept the returned drugs and refund his/her money. Just remember that returned drugs cannot be put back into stock and or reused in your practice.

Most of today’s flea products are called "prescription” drugs but aren’t regulated by the government. Do I still need a VCPR in order to dispense?

Good question and one we are still investigating.  Watch for more information in Veterinary News.

A pet owner called and asked me for some medication for her dog. I have never met this owner but had established a veterinarian/client/patient relationship with the previous owner, the dog’s breeder, and I had recently examined the animal.  Can I provide medication to the new owner or should I ask her to come in for an office visit first?

The VCPR is dependent upon your having seen and examined the animal, which you have done. You need not require the new owner to come in to continue any course of treatment where you feel it is not necessary to re-examine the animal. However, if you are asked for a new medication for a new condition that is described to you by the new owner, you should ask her to come in with the pet for an exam.  

If you are asked for a standard product for a common problem such as flea control, you need not require the owner to come in, provided you spend time with her over the phone discussing proper administration of the product. You should schedule a follow-up appointment when appropriate to meet the owner and to check on continuing treatment of your animal patient.

Does a veterinarian have to be licensed and currently registered to practice in order to maintain DEA registration?


Do I have to maintain an inventory of needles and syringes used in my veterinary practice?

No, veterinarians are not required to maintain a running inventory. Individuals who obtain needles and syringes under a Certificate of Need, such as wildlife rehabilitators, are required to maintain an inventory.

Should I store needles and syringes under lock and key?

Veterinarians are not required to store needles and syringes under lock and key; however, our VFAP standards suggest that needles and syringes not in reserve, not in main stock, and not in use be kept under suitable locked protection.  

Can I dispose of the syringe in regular garbage?

Yes if the instrument was designed to be separated, treat the needle as regulated medical waste and properly dispose of the syringe in regular garbage. Keep in mind that vials and syringes that contained vaccines potentially infectious to human beings must be treated as RMW.

I know I have to provide a prescription based on a valid VCPR. I’d like to include a note in the file that I advised the client about the drug’s proper storage and administration. Any ideas?

NYSVMS board legal counsel, Barbara Ahern, suggests the following note; ask the client to initial.

"I understand that veterinary prescription drugs must be stored and administered properly in order to be effective.  An adverse reaction may occur in a small number of cases. I take full responsibility for the storage of medication purchased through a catalog and the administration of this medication to my animal(s).”

We have many clients who request that prescriptions be written because they’re going to have them filled by a catalog company or over the Internet. Is a prescription written here in New York valid out of state?  

Yes, an out-of-state company can fill a prescription written in New York State. The important thing to remember is that veterinarians must write a prescription for a client with whom they have a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship regardless where the client will fill the script.

I wrote a prescription for a client for 20 pills. She added a zero and faxed the prescription to a catalog company for 200. Fortunately, the company called me to verify. What can I do the next time?

Write "twenty” on the prescription.

Does the veterinarian’s name have to be pre-printed on the prescription pad?

Yes, the name of the veterinary practice and the prescribing doctor’s name must be pre-printed or "mechanically” printed (computer) on prescriptions.

How do I know what flea products my unlicensed staff can apply to patients under the new pesticide regulations?

Any product with "EPA#” (indicating an EPA registration number) on the label is a pesticide, and its use is carefully regulated. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation also treats any product that advertises on the product label "For Flea/Tick control” as a regulated product even if it is not registered by EPA. Use of  any topical flea or tick control product, such as Frontline, Advantage, or OV-Spot which are approved by EPA (and DEC) for flea and tick control, are subject to these new regulations.

The use of systemic flea control such as Program (lufenuron) or Sentinel which is FDA-approved for use, is considered a drug used in your medical practice, and its use is not subject to the pesticide regulations.

I’m missing nearly 1,000 phenobarbital pills. What should I do?

The Public Health Law requires veterinarians to contact the Bureau of Controlled Substances to report missing controlled substances. It is the veterinarian’s responsibility to properly safeguard the supply of controlled substances and it is the veterinarian who must account for all drugs received and dispensed in the practice.

The Bureau of Controlled Substances will mail you a form to complete and return to them. If the situation dictates it, they will assign an investigator who will visit your practice, interview the doctors and staff, examine drug invoices, review operating procedures and how and where controlled substances are stored.

A veterinarian who suffers a loss of a controlled substance and/or suspects someone has stolen drugs but does not report it puts his/her license in jeopardy for failure to notify the Bureau of Controlled Substances and/or aiding and abetting someone in an illegal activity.

A licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician who steals or diverts controlled substances puts their license to practice in jeopardy; these cases are investigated by the Bureau of Controlled Substances and referred to the Office of Professional Discipline when appropriate.

How long do controlled substance records have to be kept?

Five years since the date of the last record. This includes records of deceased animal patients. 

The local pet store asked me to supply it with prescription medicines, like distemper vaccine. Can I?

No.  A veterinarian is licensed to prescribe, administer, dispense and prescribe drugs to animal patients based on a valid veterinarian/client/patient relationship.  Veterinarians may not act like a pharmacy and sell prescription drugs to anyone who does not fall within the VCPR. 

When my clients wish to purchase a prescribed medication from me at the veterinary practice, I write out the name of the drug and instructions for its use. I give this prescription to my receptionist who gets the drug from the drug cabinet, puts the required amount in a prescription bottle, writes out the instructions, affixes it to the medication vial, and gives it to the client. Is this a good procedure?

No.  The law prohibits a pharmacist from delegating to another person any of the duties included in the practice of pharmacy, including the preparation, labeling and dispensing of prescription medications. This same prohibition applies to the other licensed professionals (veterinarians, dentists and physicians) permitted to dispense prescription drugs. Staff in a veterinary practice, including but not limited to licensed veterinary technicians, may assist the veterinarian in the packaging, preparation and labeling of prescription medications that the veterinarian is dispensing to clients. However, the veterinarian must be the one to actually dispense the medication. 

Controlled Substances

Item Name Posted By Date Posted
General Questions on I-Stop Provisions Link Administration 8/27/2013
Obtaining a HCS account for unlicensed staff PDF (1003.02 KB) Administration 8/27/2013
How to apply for a HCS account PDF (909.44 KB) Administration 8/27/2013
NYSVMS provides additional information on BNE dail Link Administration 8/27/2013
BNE doesn't grant veterinary exemption  Link Administration 8/26/2013
Update on PPA Link Administration 8/23/2013
Disposal and Destruction of Controlled Substances Link Administration 8/21/2013
DOH Guide to Online CSI Program Link Administration 8/21/2013
Changes to CS Schedule - February 2013 - Tramadol Link Administration 8/21/2013


More InfoHide Info ]
Contains Knowledge Center articles related to pharmacy, pet medications, compounding, controlled substances and other topics related to drugs.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Online Pharmacies PDF (59.44 KB) Administration 10/7/2016
Partnering Online Pharmacies PDF (50.21 KB) Administration 10/7/2016
Electronic Prescriptions PDF (177.27 KB) Administration 3/31/2015
Can unlicensed staff prepare/dispense prescription Link Administration 12/12/2014
Official NYS prescription pad Link Administration 4/22/2014
Prescription Drug Reform Act (I-STOP) Link Administration 8/21/2013
Prescription Drug FAQ Link Administration 8/21/2013
Federal and State Regulations on Compounding Link Administration 8/21/2013
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