To the Editor:
In a time when much name-calling and finger-pointing is going on in Springfield, I was delighted to find an overlooked recent bill that deserves a note of attention. Senate Bill 1827, sponsored by Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), and signed by Gov. Rauner on July 31, will now allow pet owners to fill prescriptions for their pets at a pharmacy of their choice. This might sound like an inconsequential law, but it brings Illinois in line with 36 other states that outlaw the price-gouging practices some veterinarians use when requiring owners of four-legged patients to fill prescriptions only at their office. Having been a recent victim of this practice, and bullied by a veterinarian to purchase heartworm medicine at over double the cost of various Internet pharmacies, I could not be more pleased with our state government to finally get something right. Per the new law, it is now my right -- and your right -- as a pet owner to demand that Veterinarian’s “honor a client’s request for a prescription."
A May 2015 report by the Federal Trade Commission (note: my former employer before teaching at SIU Law), concluded that “there are still many consumers ... who are either unaware of their ability to obtain portable prescriptions from their veterinarians or are inhibited from requesting them.” The report further stated that legislative efforts have the potential to enhance consumer awareness and improve consumer access to portable prescriptions. Well, applause to Sen. Althoff, a unanimous state Senate and House, and Gov. Rauner for listening, enhancing consumer’s rights, and looking out for the great pets of Illinois — four paws applause.
Ryan Holte is a law professor at SIU School of Law. He and his wife Jessica live in Marion with their Great Dane Lucy.