Determining charges for unused veterinary cancer medication

Determining charges for unused veterinary cancer medication

One veterinarian queries an ethics expert and Facebook readers seize the chance to respond.
Feb 01, 2014
By staff

The cost to the clinic remained the same. Refund the client whose pet the medication was ordered for, and charge the client whose pet will use the drug. If the first client chooses to decline the refund and donate the product to the second client, so be it. Let the client "pay it forward."

- Linda Sisti

What Linda Sisti said, exactly. I don't see a huge conflict here, honestly. Everyone should be happy the drug is on hand and available to the patient who needs it. The cost should be billed to the owner of that patient.

- Mike Walker

I'll charge the same cost as for the first patient and keep the refund in cash to give for the original client, unless he donates it, (Happening very often regarding the loss of a beloved friend) and then, the money goes to a shelter.

- Sarahí López



A professional relationship with a veterinarian allows a pet owner to make what are often life-and-death decisions about their pets without fear of the veterinarian having ulterior motives. To accomplish this, the veterinarian must be open and honest about all facets of the pet's veterinary care.

In this situation, the patient died before receiving one of the medications ordered for treatment. If the client was billed for this medication and it was not used for the patient, then the fee should be refunded. The obligation of the veterinarian would be to contact the client and inform him or her of the situation and refund any money paid for unused medication.

Most drug distributors will credit the return of an unopened, non-expired medication. There may be a minor restocking fee, which can be passed on to the pet owner. In this case, a second patient was in need of this drug and the owner should be willing to pay the fee to treat the pet. The veterinarian has suffered no financial loss, the patient has been served, and the open and honest veterinarian-client relationship has been maintained.