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Our Challenges Concerning Our Online Pharmacy

Our Challenges Concerning Our Online Pharmacy

Did you know that the AHNA In-hospital pharmacy and the AHNA website pharmacy are not the same pharmacy? Learn the differences and how it works when you request medication refills.

We want to address some concerns that some families have had recently with our online pharmacy, Covetrus Animal Health.

Who is Covetrus Animal Health?

Like almost all hospital branded online pharmacies, the Animal Hospital of North Asheville (AHNA) is in a partnership with a leading nationwide veterinary distributor, Covetrus Animal Health. Covetrus handles the stocking and the shipping of the requested products when they are purchased through the AHNA on-line pharmacy, located on our website.  AHNA in-hospital pharmacy (brick-and-mortar) does not physically handle products ordered through the on-line pharmacy. Being a national distributor, Covetrus also offers their own specials and coupons through the online pharmacy or by email. Online pharmacies offers the convenience of paying for the product at the time of the purchase and having it shipped from their supply center directly to the home. But there is more to it than just ordering a product and having it shipped to you (see details below).

Since COVID-19 hit, why is my requested medication taking longer to receive?

Before COVID-19, clients who used our online pharmacy saw very few issues in the ordering process or the delivery of their product request.  When COVID-19 hit,  people nationwide were faced with mandated State and County "stay at home" orders, which forced families to make only necessary trips. Even when the orders where lifted, many families are still limiting their travel and interactions for safety reasons. This caused the online pharmacy industry to be overwhelmed with refilled and delivery requests.  The online pharmacy system was not set up to handle the amount of orders that rapidly started coming in. They very quickly realized they did not have enough customer service representatives to handle the exponential increase in calls. There was an urgent need for properly trained staff. Hiring and training staff to work not only efficiently, remotely, and with careful attention to detail that the medical field is a time consuming and arduous process . Covetrus is trying to greatly expand and train their customer service teams by continuing to hire and train staff to help provide better customer service to our clients.

Because of the almost overnight explosion of online requests and the hiring and training of staff, clients are reporting longer than normal wait times when dealing with the online pharmacy customer service. Not only are longer than normal shipping times are also being created by the increased amount of medication request; home delivery services are also experiencing delays. 

Behind the Scenes of Medication Refill Process

When requesting a medication refill, it is a not a one click and ship. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes whether a client requests medications through a direct call to AHNA or ordering through a website online pharmacy (affiliated with AHNA or not).  

  1.  An order is placed,  either through the online pharmacy or a direct call to AHNA.
  2. The medication or refill request goes to our dedicated pharmacy team. Here, the request is reviewed  by our team to ensure there are no contraindications for the patient, the patient has been see in the last year (required for AHNA to legally fill a prescription), and, if necessary for certain medications, the required blood work has been completed. They also consult with your veterinarian when needed.
  3. Once the medication is approved, it is either filled here, or the approval is sent back to Covertrus, and they will fill and ship the medication.

AHNA-trained staff does not work on the Covetrus (the online pharmacy) customer service team. Our staff is able to help our clients with refill requests while in the process of review before approval or when the medication is being refilled through the AHNA in-hospital pharmacy. Once the request has been sent back to the online pharmacy, our trained staff are very limited in what they can do to help answer questions dealing with the online pharmacy, shipment status, or other concerns with the process. Covetrus offers several different options to contact their customer service team. Click here to learn more about Covetrus Customer Service.

Refilling Medications through the AHNA In-hospital Pharmacy

When a prescription is filled here at the AHNA in-hospital pharmacy, the request goes through the same thorough process of approval. Once it is approved, than it is filled. When clients arrive for their medication pick up, they will call us, and our client care team will take payment over the phone; they will place the medication outside on the front bench for the client to pick up. This decreases the contact for clients and staff, which helps keep everyone protected during COVID-19. With the increase of medication requests and the time needed to ensure there are not any mistakes when carefully filling your pet's medication, we kindly ask clients to give us 24 business hours to review and fill your prescription at the AHNA in hospital pharmacy.

In today's economy, saving and spending matters. We try to offer comparable prices for medication including flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, along with a fully stocked in hospital pharmacy. We continue to thank our clients who choose to have their medication refilled through the AHNA in- hospital pharmacy.  If when you are shopping for the best price and you see that there is not much difference between our brick-and-mortar or our online website pharmacy price, we at AHNA would appreciate it if you are able to purchase your product from us and not the highly commercialized businesses you see on TV.  With that being said, we also understand if this is not possible. By using the AHNA in-hospital pharmacy and Covetrus, it continues to help support our staff, doctors, and the equipment and services that we provide. 

We thank you for your understanding and patience with the delays due to COVID-19

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