Competition Commission points to complex monopolies in the supply of POMs

Investigation into prescription-only vet medicines

source: Veterinary Record vol 151 no 12, September 21 2002
starts p339, 2 pages long

The Competition Commission has sent provisional conclusions to UK vets, and wholesalers and manufacturers of prescription-only vet medicines (POMs), on the supply of these products. The commission has found that a complex monopoly exists where certain practices are common. These practices include vets not telling animal owners that they can request prescriptions, or failing to give prescriptions when asked for them, or charging high prices for them. Vets may also fail to tell owners how much the medicines will cost before they are dispensed, and bills may not be itemised. Discounts may not be passed on to owners, and POMs may be priced to subsidise professional fees.

Manufacturers' practices that indicate a monopoly include not negotiating discounts to vet buying groups, while monopolies may also exist if both manufacturers and wholesalers refuse to supply POMs to pharmacies on terms allowing the pharmacies to compete with vets.