Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201 #560891-00106

Submission Number:
Thomas Watson
Associated Veterinary Enterprise Company, Ltd
Initiative Name:
Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
Historically, veterinary practices have provided clients/patients with medications at the practice at the time of service as a a necessity and/or convenience to clients because veterinary specific drugs were not widely available. Operating as a business, the practice was/is obliged to make a profit on the medications it sells. Calculating in the cost to purchase rather small quantities of these products from distributors, stocking, loss by out-dating or shrinkage, opportunity costs and factors common to all retail sales scenarios, led to substantial consumer cost in the case of many of these products. It became apparent that a third party veterinary pharmacy could offer these products at a lower price. For practices that viewed their pharmacies as a profit center, the third party veterinary pharmacies represented competition. In truth, very few practices are managed well enough to actually realize a substantial profit from their pharmacies, especially as the cost and variety of medications is rising dramatically. As such, small animal veterinary practices are moving away from operating in practice pharmacies as a profit center. The problems encountered with veterinarians not supplying medications to owners/patients are: 1) most veterinary patients need medications to begin immediately and brick and mortar veterinary pharmacies where a prescription can be filled immediately are not available. On-line pharmacies or compounding pharmacies need several days or even weeks to supply the patient with needed medications. 2) there has been a problem with some of the on-line pharmacies selling products obtained from inappropriate, unethical or even illegal sources. 3) especially the on-line pharmacies have a strong tendency toward providing medications for clients/patients without a valid prescription or actually providing the client with a prescription without examining the patient. I realize that everything is about cost to the consumer these days but as a veterinarian, my responsibility is to medically diagnose and treat patient's ailments to the best of my ability. Like everything else these days, the cost of doing that is rising all the time. Dramatically so in medicine, even veterinary medicine. More rules to protect the consumer's pocket book, such as requiring a written prescription for every medication will ultimately add to spiraling veterinary cost to the consumer. As professionals all we have to sell is our knowledge and our time which are becoming increasingly valuable. Part of the cause of this is continual escalation of regulations designed by bureaucrats who don't understand the problems they are trying to solve fully. I applaud your efforts to gather pertinent facts in advance. Sincerely, Thomas C. Watson, DVM, CVA