Submission Number: 560891-00557
Received: 9/27/2012 6:57:18 PM
Commenter: David Taylor
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Request for Comments and Announcement of Workshop on Pet Medications Issues, Project No. P121201
Attachments: No Attachments
The public calls for access to pet medications through pharmacies vs veterinarians, and this is understandable - but they do not realize what the future holds if they press this.
We have seen the outcome of this exact thing in large animal (LA) medicine, allow me to explain:
People stopped buying LA medications from us because they could find it cheaper from traveling sales-people, or through bulk-order warehouses. Our medications would sit on the shelf and expire even priced barely above cost, so we had to discard them all and could not justify stocking them - instead of generating any income, the medications were in fact costing us thousands per month.
So we no longer have anything in stock when people come in for LA medications. Ranchers continually come by hoping to get a medication for an ailing animal and we can no longer help them. As much as it pains us to do so, the simple financial facts prevent us from stocking these essential medications - all as a result of ranchers buying elsewhere.
This will likely happen in Small Animal practice as well. The local veterinarian will no longer be able to stock or provide medications and when owners need it, pet owners will have to wait until the pharmacies - usually online pharmacies, and several days away - can provide what they need.
So, there are other issues involved in this, beyond medication pricing, medication income, restraint of trade, personal freedoms.
Most will incorrectly assume veterinarians view this from the standpoint of its effect on our income; when in fact most of us are asking "How will this affect animal health and suffering?'. The answer is that it will be a definite detriment, as explained above.
Regarding consumer costs - if we look further into the future, veterinary fees will surely be corrected by higher service charges to compensate for lost medication income. So consumers may end up paying *more* in total for animal care with this change, but do not realize it.
Sometimes things in our lives are very efficient systems (such as veterinary-provided medications), and truly as good as they can be - but we do not realize it and clamor for change. Change which materially make things worse.
That is human nature for you!