1 October 2022

Ethicists’ commentary on appropriate use of pharmaceuticals

Icelandic horse
📷 AdventureFocus // Colourbox.com

Ethical question of the month, June 2022

You are an equine veterinarian who relies on firocoxib as your “go to” for chronic arthritis pain. There was no equine-labelled product in Canada until recently, so you were dispensing a divided dose of the canine product. An equine product has recently come available but is almost 2.5 times the cost. When you raise this issue with the pharmaceutical manufacturer, their response is that you should lower your markup on the medication. You comply, despite it being a less than ideal practice management decision, as you are concerned some of your clients cannot or will not afford the price increase and their horses will go without pain control.

You see a horse that you have prescribed firocoxib and your client tells you she has found a small animal veterinarian who will prescribe the less expensive canine version of the drug to use for her horse. She is unwilling to provide the name of the prescriber. What do you do?

Clare Palmer, Peter Sandøe, & Dan Weary comment on this dilemma and you can read it here: Ethicists’ commentary on appropriate use of pharmaceuticals (pdf)