Increasing Patient Safety by Stocking 503B Drugs

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Across all industries, consumers today expect convenient, personalized service to be available on-demand, and the veterinary healthcare industry is no exception. However, in the case of veterinary drugs, the quick and convenient option for buying needed medications may not be the choice that results in the best treatment outcomes and could even be detrimental to a pet’s health. Veterinary hospitals and clinics that keep high-demand 503B compounded drugs stocked can exceed their clients’ expectations by having needed drugs available for office use, while also providing their patients with safe, high-quality medications.  

Keeping high-use 503B compounded veterinary medications readily available to dispense as needed can benefit patients’ health and wellbeing in three key ways:

  • The compounded drugs manufactured by 503B outsourcing facilities must meet strict standards for quality and safety.
  • Treatment delays can be avoided because clients have immediate access to the medications required to treat their pets.
  • Veterinarians can counsel clients on the treatment plan and drug administration, increasing the likelihood of treatment adherence.


Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits.


Assurance of Drug Quality and Safety

In the quest for convenience and lower costs, some clients may be tempted to fill their pet’s prescription through an online pharmacy if the medication is not available at their veterinary hospital or clinic. Unfortunately, if the drug isn’t purchased from an authorized pharmacy, it could lead to patient harm as the medication may be close to or past its expiration date, may not have been stored under proper conditions, and/or could even be counterfeit.

503A pharmacies are also not required to test each batch of medicine they produce for potency, purity, sterility, endotoxin, or stability, so inconsistencies in quality and safety can be significant. With drugs that have a narrow therapeutic range, such as chemotherapeutic agents, thyroid medications, and antiseizure medications, these inconsistencies can be especially detrimental to treatment outcomes.    

When veterinary hospitals and clinics stock in-demand compounded drugs from a 503B outsourcing facility that specializes in animal health, the providers know their patients are receiving right-fit medications that are manufactured in compliance with FDA standards. This means that every batch of the drug produced is tested for:

  • Potency and endotoxin (when applicable), ensuring that the desired amount of active drug is present and the medication is safe for patient use.
  • Stability, so the expiration date assigned is reliable and, in most cases,  longer than the beyond-use date assigned to drugs compounded by traditional 503A pharmacies.
  • Sterility (when applicable), ensuring the medication is free from microbial contamination.


Veterinary hospitals and clinics that keep needed 503B-manufactured drugs stocked can also ensure these medications are stored within the established parameters for light, temperature, and humidity, maintaining drug safety and effectiveness until patient use. They can also make sure hazardous medications, like chemotherapy tablets, are dispensed in packaging, such as unit-dose blister packs, that keeps the client and patient as safe as possible.

Stocking 503B compounded medications can also help minimize errors. The veterinarian can make sure they have “the six rights” covered to prevent dispensing mistakes from occurring—right patient, right medication (using additional care with medications that have names that look or sound similar), right dose, right time, right route of administration, and right documentation.


Timely Treatment

When clients need to invest time in finding a pharmacy, submitting an order, and waiting for their pet’s medication to be delivered, treatment may be delayed (and the quality of the medication received may be subpar).      

Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, drug shortages and supply chain disruptions have made it even more important for veterinary practices to keep frequently used medications in stock. Drugs that have high demand in human healthcare, such as pain management drugs like hydromorphone and fentanyl, and sedatives/anxiolytics like ketamine and midazolam, have, at times, been particularly difficult to obtain. However, veterinary hospitals and clinics that partnered with 503B outsourcing facilities, which are uniquely suited to fill gaps in the supply chain, were often still able to procure these hard-to-find drugs and keep them stocked, allowing patient treatment to begin immediately and continue without interruption.  


Improved Treatment Adherence

In veterinary medicine, the rate of adherence to the patient’s treatment plan is relatively low—it’s likely about the same rate as in human healthcare, which is around 50%-75%, depending on the type of disease, medication, and treatment regimen. Removing barriers to following the treatment plan is key to improving patient outcomes and having 503B-manufactured compounded drugs readily available can help.

When a veterinary hospital or clinic has needed medications available and can dispense them directly to a client, it provides an opportunity for vet-client counseling that likely wouldn’t take place if the client obtains the medication from another source, which can positively impact treatment adherence rates. Some techniques that have been shown to increase client adherence rates include:

  • Educating the client on health consequences—Provide information to the client on how their pet’s health will be positively impacted by providing needed medication on schedule and the health consequences that can occur if medication is given inconsistently.
  • Habit development—Help the client develop a routine with clear cues for eliciting the desired behavior. For example, the client could be counseled to give the pet’s medication immediately before or after feeding their pet.
  • Behavior demonstration—Show the client how to administer the medication.
  • Behavior practice—Allow the client the chance to administer the medication and provide feedback on how it can be done most easily.


By keeping in-demand compounded medications from a 503B outsourcing facility in inventory, veterinary hospitals and clinics can meet client demands for immediate, convenient service, while also ensuring their patients are receiving safe, high-quality drugs. Stock up on the medications your patients need most by starting your order today.

Interested in more 503B education and resources for your practice? Check out our blog!

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