Veterinary Drug Distribution

As I write this, my Labrador is gutting a stuffed mouse at my feet. I’ll need to take the toy from her shortly to avoid her enthusiastic consumption of the squeaker within (and what I know, from experience, can be a very costly aftermath of emergency veterinarian care, x-rays, hospitalizations, and medication). According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), I represent one of the 62 percent of American households that owns pets and spends $7 billion a year in medicines to keep those pets healthy.

This week, the FTC’s Bureau of Competition is convening a workshop on veterinary drug distribution, prescribing and dispensing practices. The FTC is looking at the unique issues that arise when veterinarians prescribe and dispense the drugs our pets need. The FTC wonders, especially in this time of $4 generic drugs, whether traditional practices lead to higher prices for consumers. FTC’s interest stems from the its work to make eyewear prescriptions more portable. The agency also is interested in veterinary drug distribution practices and issues of diversion, counterfeiting, and authenticity.

The FTC agenda for the October 2 event is available online. There will be a live webcast, and we will all be able to follow the event on Twitter, using the hashtag #FTCpets. FTC also extended the comment period until November 1, 2012, so that stakeholders can listen to the workshop and review the written comments.

I’ll be listening to the webcast and following the Tweets on October 2.

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