We bought a kitten a couple of weeks ago from PetsMart at 2242 Hwy K in O'fallon, Missouri, where Banfield also offers veterinary services. Recently we nearly paid $40 for a prescription of Tobramycin thru their location...
for a med that is only $5 at Walmart. Since day one, our new family member has been the center of attention. He's everything you'd like in a kitten; cute, lovable, and "maniacly playful", often wanting to sleep in a lap or to be cuddled like an infant; hence the name "Baby". However, since coming home with us, he had exhibited symptoms of a bacterial infection in one eye (conjunctivitis) and it had gotten worse during the 2nd week.
My wife arranged a visit with a Banfield vet yesterday using a"free visit voucher". The vet confirmed our suspicion and recommended a $40 ophthalic drop called Tobramycin (thru the Banfield clinic at Petsmart), along with a petcare policy for $30? or so per month that would "both save $$$ and ensure preventative care" thru regular checkups and treatments if necessary. My wife was surprised since our daughter had been prescribed an ophthalmic drop for pink eye last summer and seemed to recall it was considerably less.
Therefore, She politely declined the $40 eye drop and indicated she wanted to first check on options, but that she was certainly interested in the pet-care policy. At no time during this instance did the veterinarian offer to provide a prescription to be used as she chose, or to call it in somewhere else. So she left without understanding that the drop required a prescription in order to purchase elsewhere. More importantly, Veterinarians and the clinics they serve should understand the position on this issue by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
The AVMA considers it poor ethics to withhold medicine or treatment of a condition they had diagnosed (i.e. withholding can be obvious and non-obvious; (1) blatant refusal unless purchased thru them, (2) omission; i.e. withholding information from a pet owner that would make their options clear. As suspected, a 2 minute google search turned up numerous online sources of the same and similar ophthalmic drops for prices ranging from $4 to $15 depending on variety and volume.
However, reviews of online purchases of this type are all over the place... so we decided to check local sources in O'fallon. We made a 3 minute call to Walmart and learned the same ophthalmic is available through their pharmacy for less than $5. We called the Banfield clinic at Petsmart and talked to a rep about getting a prescription we could take to the pharmacy of our choice.
She (the rep) stated that since the original prescription had been declined and the attending vet had left for the week, we would need to reschedule another visit (paid visit) with the vet on call who could then exam again and provide a prescription. To make a long story short, I declined the offer, and inquired why the original vet couldn't simply be contacted so he could order it himself... I mean how long can a prescription for an eye drop take to write? The Banfield rep we talked to (or was it Petsmart?
not sure since the relationship is confusing) was not happy with the fact I had also informed her that charging 800% markup on a med could only be done so openly and without scrutiny in the veterinary industry... However, she promised te vet would be contacted and it could "possibly" be done by that evening...
Well, by 8pm yesterday we realized it was not happening and will have to wait until after the holidays. In the mean time we learned of several non-prescription treatments to try over the Thanksgiving holiday and hopefully by this Monday (11-28-16) we'll receive a courtesy call that a prescription is ready.
Product or Service Mentioned: Banfield Pet Hospital Veterinarian.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Preferred solution: to discuss with a Banfield agent / vet.
Banfield Pet Hospital Cons: Denied care to a pet in need.