FTC Announces Pet Medications Workshop; Will Explore Competition and Consumer Protection Issues Related to the Pet Medications Industry

Event to be Held at FTC Conference Center in Washington, DC, on October 2, 2012

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On Tuesday, October 2, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission will host a workshop to examine the ways pet medications are distributed to consumers, and how these practices affect consumer choice and price competition. It is estimated that 62 percent of American households own a pet, and that pet owners in the United States spend nearly $7 billion annually on pet medications.

"American consumers spend a tremendous amount of money on medications for their pets every year. High prices on these medications mean that consumers have less money for necessities. It's important that these medications are safe and effective, and that pet owners get the benefits of a fair and robust marketplace," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "This workshop will help us understand these and other issues related to the medications we buy for our pets to keep them healthy."

Among other issues, the workshop will consider the extent to which consumers are able to obtain written, portable prescriptions that they can fill wherever they choose, and their ability to verify the safety and effectiveness of the pet medications they buy. The workshop is free and open to the public, and pre-registration is not required. It will be held at the FTC's satellite conference center at 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC.

At the workshop, the FTC will examine issues related to the distribution of pet medications from practical, economic, and legal standpoints. Questions to be addressed include:

  • How are pet medications distributed to consumers?
  • What are the business rationales for various pet medication distribution practices?
  • How do these practices affect prices to consumers?
  • How do these practices affect product supply and quality?
  • How do these practices affect entry into the pet medications industry?
  • What product safety issues exist with respect to these practices?
  • Are there other factors that should be considered when analyzing the competition and consumer protection issues related to the distribution of pet medications?

More information about distribution practices in the pet medications industry and prescription portability for pet medications can be found on the FTC's website in the Federal Register notice announcing the workshop.

The FTC is seeking public comments on the upcoming workshop from consumers, veterinarians, business representatives, economists, lawyers, academics, and other interested parties. Comments can be submitted in paper or electronic format through September 14, 2012, with full instructions available in the Federal Register notice. Comments can be submitted electronically by clicking here. Written comments should be mailed or delivered to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex X), 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20580. A complete agenda for the workshop will be issued shortly and posted on the FTC's website.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted via email to skonstandt@ftc.gov or by calling Samantha Konstandt at 202-326-3348. Requests should be made in advance. Please include a detailed description of the accommodation needed, and provide contact information.

The Commission vote approving the Federal Register notice was 5-0.

The FTC's Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust@ftc.gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20580. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

(Pet Meds Workshop.final.wpd)

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161