Threat of clampdown on veterinary drugs

Competition Commission to investigate price of veterinary drugs

source: Stephen Foley
Independent April 17 2002 p21

The British Competition Commission has contacted manufacturers and wholesalers of veterinary drugs as well as vets, and is seeking to assess whether pet owners are paying too much for these products due to monopolistic or anti-competitive practices. Over 25% of the market is accounted for by Dechra Pharmaceuticals. Farmers and pet owners claim that drug prices are too high. The Commission’s deputy chairman, Denise Kingsmill, sees the discount system used by the pharmaceutical companies as lacking in transparency. End of year rebates, for example, tend not to benefit pet owners. One possibility being examined by the Commission is how to increase the numbers of veterinary drugs sold through pharmacists, to whom consumers could take vets’ prescriptions. Vet drugs appear to cost more in the UK than they cost in euro-currency areas, according to Kingsmill.

Dechra chief executive, Ian Page, argues that the company’s market share has increased as a result of operational efficiencies, and that it does not mean that anti-competitive practices are involved.