Australian Veterinary Association Warns of Counterfeit Pet Medications

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has warned consumers of the growing market for counterfeit animal medications sold in online pharmacies.

"Not only is this a risky practice as there is no guarantee you're going to get what you're paying for, you might also be breaking the law by buying these drugs online and importing them into Australia," said AVA president Dr. Barry Smyth.

Australians who import unregistered medications purchased online reportedly face a fine of up to A$33,000.

"We know that somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of these products are counterfeit," Smyth told ABC News. "For people in the livestock industries they need to be very careful what they treat their animals with, because of residues in animal products."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued similar warnings, telling consumers that illegitimate sites that sell counterfeit pet drugs may falsely claim to have a veterinarian evaluate pets' health using forms filled out by the pets' owners.

The FDA also warns that many pet drugs available for purchase from online pharmacies can be dangerous without the direct involvement of a professional and may adversely affect the health of any animal that takes them.