The Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Pfizer Animal Health Group Donation Program
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012

Thomas W. deMaar, DVM

Gladys Porter Zoo, Brownsville, TX, USA

The Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) pharmaceutical donation program with Pfizer Animal Health continues to bring beneficial support to member’s animal health program needs. Now in its third year, the Pfizer program has contributed over $400,000 of free pharmaceuticals to AZA facilities. The donations are sourced by Pfizer from returned product, damaged packaging, and short expiration date (but not less than six months).

All U.S.-based, AZA-accredited, nonprofit zoos, aquariums, and related facilities that retain a licensed veterinarian are eligible to participate. Initial registration is done through the AZA website using the institution’s login. Registrants provide a veterinarian contact with address, email, and phone, and a FedEx or UPS shipping account number.

Pfizer Animal Health provides a new inventory of pharmaceutical products approximately every quarter, available at no charge to participants. The list is edited to remove products not commonly used in zoo medicine, large-volume items, counter displays, products with shipping restrictions, and is subsequently announced to registered participants. Participants have two weeks to request product via an AZA web portal that automatically monitors inventory. The assembled request is forwarded to Pfizer, which, in turn, ships the available product to the Gladys Porter Zoo (GPZ). Once product is inventoried at GPZ, each recipient makes a $40.00 payment at AZA’s website ($25.00 to AZA for maintenance of the computer portal and $15 to GPZ for handling time and supplies). GPZ ships the boxes to the grateful recipient after payment is received.

Product availability varies due to changes in the warehouse between the time the initial list was compiled and when shipment takes place. In addition, Pfizer may use the same pool of product for contributions to other organizations and disaster relief response. During redistribution, the staff at Gladys Porter Zoo utilizes two guiding principles: (a) “first come, first serve,” but also, (b) “spread the wealth”. In this way, if an early requestor has asked for a large share of what is available some product may be redistributed to a later requester based on need.

In 2012 so far, AZA participants shared product from an inventory valued at $120,000. Pfizer Animal Health is committed to the veterinary profession, education, innovation, and philanthropy. These product donations allow us to give our zoo residents an enhanced level of care and put our resources to their most efficient use. Is your zoo or aquarium getting its share? To register go to (VIN editor: link was not accessible as of 12/22/2020).


This program would not exist without the enthusiastic support of Ms. Robin Hivner of Pfizer Animal Health and the initial contact by Dr. Stephen M. Coan, president and CEO of Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration.


Speaker Information
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Thomas W. deMaar, DVM
Gladys Porter Zoo
Brownsville, TX, USA

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