Submission Number: 560891-00467
Received: 9/14/2012 11:15:55 AM
Commenter: Dawn Koetting
Organization: Self employed
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
Attachments: No Attachments
Owning a pet is a choice and a right, but not something that is guaranteed under any form. While pet owners should have the right to fill a prescription outside of my practice ( and I believe the majority of people understand that they can, through massive marketing efforts by Petmed Express, et al) to make it law that I have to provide a written prescription even if the script is filled at my clinic is redundant and not safe for the pet. Do I take back that written script if I fill it? If I don't, can they get a second prescription filled elsewhere if they feel it necessary? There are many questions that come to mind concerning this.
Being concerned that pet owners are spending excess amounts of money on medications that might be needed for their every day expenses is not a concern of government. I know hundreds of people who smoke cigarettes and drive cars that, in reality, they can't afford. In this instance, it is all money that could be used for necessary daily expenses. Has the government stepped in and ensured that they/we are getting the best deal?
I think that if polled, the vast majority of consumers of veterinary services and products understand that they can get these products elsewhere if they wish. This commission is, like most government, too late on the issue. What most people don't understand is that if the profit center of pharmaceuticals is removed from my practice, I must then adjust all other prices on services to make up for that decrease in revenue. If not, my decreased gross and net would force me to decrease wages, benefits, and perhaps lay people off. But the American consumer has shown time and time again that they will take the cheaper product every time, until that time that they realize that someone in their family or a local business has lost a job or shut down because of it. Today, American Express and others are looking to support local small businesses. Shouldn't our government?
I end in repeating, consumers in this day and age know how to find what they need - ebay, wal-mart, amazon, petmed express. The sad fact of the matter is that some medications are expensive (check out your own prescriptions), especially when they are developed for a limited market or condition. And business owners have to profit or why do what we do? So go back to the consumer, who 95% don't have pet insurance or any way to help with veterinary bills, and ask if they want the costs of the rest of their pet's care to increase, or for it to become unavailable (last I checked, the pet pharmacies don't hospitalize and treat the sick). There are inexpensive vaccine and routine care options at many big box pet stores, too, but they cannot provide for the kind of diagnostics and proceedures that pet owners have come to demand when their pet is sick.
So, before jumping in to fix problem "A", which I feel a poll will tell you people know where to find inexpensive medications, be sure that you aren't going to create problems "B", "C" and "D", in true government fashion. Perhaps all pet owners should be required to obtain pet health insurance (sound familiar?), or perhaps the government should do the math concerning the lack of tax dollars and jobs should the niche of small business veterinary practice be lost due to excessive concern for a consumer who may have a pet that they can't afford. I can't afford a lot of things, but its not the government's job to get the price down on that item so that if I do end up purchasing it, it doens't greatly affect my ability to make my daily expenses.
And just to make a point, it is VERY common of client to come in and decline a needed service (lets say, a dental on a pet with severe, painful, decaying gums and teeth), yet that pet has a set grooming appointment every 6 weeks, at $45-$65 a pop, cute outfits, and is fed pricey holistic diets. This is the person who also complains about the cost of veterinary medications.