Focusing on Pet Health at Pet Medication Workshop

During a recent workshop hosted by the Federal Trade Commission, the AVMA strongly defended the veterinary profession and spoke out against a proposed federal mandate on prescription writing. Invited panelists explored competition and consumer protection issues in the pet medication industry. 

Our appearance at the October 2 workshop was a continuation of our opposition to H.R. 1406, also known as the Fairness to Pet Owners Act, and our unwavering commitment to pet health, pet owners and their freedom to choose where they fill prescriptions for their pets, without placing an unnecessary burden on veterinary practices. 

The workshop brought together a number of veterinary experts, including Dr. Doug Aspros, AVMA president; Adrian Hochstadt, the AVMA’s director of state legislative and regulatory affairs; Dr. Link Welborn, the chair of the AVMA’s Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee; and several others representing veterinary medicine, veterinary practitioners and the pet medications industry. In addition, many of the approximately 150 in the audience were veterinarians. 

Each of the guests shared their expertise on the distribution of pet medications and whether or not H.R. 1406 is necessary. The AVMA believes the legislation is unnecessary and redundant, especially since many states already require prescription portability, and because the AVMA’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics state that veterinarians should provide clients with a written prescription when requested. 

More than 500 comments – mostly from veterinarians and their associations – about the pet medications industry have been submitted to the FTC as the agency seeks public input on the issue. The comment period has been extended to November 1, and we encourage all veterinarians to add their voices and experiences to those of their colleagues by commenting on the FTC site. You can view a video of the workshop on the FTC website, and a press release summarizing the day’s events can be found in the AVMA Press Room.

2 thoughts on “Focusing on Pet Health at Pet Medication Workshop

  1. Hi AVMA,

    I’m surprised that the FTC would become involved in something like this. I don’t see that veterinarians are anticompetitive, deceptive or unfair to pet owning consumers.

    Veterinarians are friendly animal doctors. They care about our pets and treat us well. They are like human medical doctors – kind, honest, transparent, and they have nothing but good intentions.

    I’m at a loss as to why the government would try to pass such a bill.

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

  2. After reading 625 public comments sent to the FTC and attending the FTC Meeting on Pet Medications in Washington DC on October 2, 2012 I think it best that the FTC use their own mission statement to guide them in their future actions and recommendations. The Federal Trade Commission’s mission is to prevent business practices that are anticompetitive, deceptive or unfair to consumers.
    There was no compelling evidence presented in the public comments or at the meeting that veterinarians are anticompetitive, deceptive or unfair to pet owning consumers. The FTC should recommend to Congress that the proposed bill, H.R. 1406 Fairness to Pet Owners Act of 2011 is not needed and should be abandoned. The FTC should make a recommendation to the veterinary profession that state regulations and the AVMA Code of Ethics be followed.
    There was evidence presented at the meeting that some pharmaceutical manufacturers have anticompetitive policies. The FTC should use its’ legal authority to correct anticompetitive practices.
    There was evidence presented in the comments and at the meeting that problems exist with untrained pharmacists dispensing prescription medicines for companion animals. The FTC should make a recommendation to state boards of pharmacy and pharmacy associations that licensees and association member pharmacists and pharmacies refrain from dispensing prescription medicines they are unfamiliar with or untrained in. Pet owning consumers would otherwise be vulnerable to deceptive pharmacy practices.
    There was evidence presented in the comments and at the meeting that a large market for diverted prescription veterinary medicines and OTC veterinary products exists. This is deceptive to pet owning consumers.
    The FTC should use its’ legal authority to correct restriction of trade and recommend to state boards of pharmacy that all veterinary prescription drugs be required to be pedigreed in the pharmacy sales chain, similar to human pharmacy laws and regulations.
    The Federal Trade Commission asked for and received comments on ways to inform and empower pet-owning consumers to obtain the highest quality and cost-effective healthcare products for their pets. The FTC also conducted a meeting on October 2, 2012 to review and discuss “Competition & Consumer Protection Issues in the Pet Medications Industry”. I urge the FTC to use their authority wisely and to follow their mission statement exactly when evaluating all the information and advice that they have
    obtained. Advice from practicing veterinarians should be highly regarded, because as a profession veterinarians place the health and well-being of their patients and owners at the highest priority.
    I believe the dispensing of the large array of prescription companion animal medicines requires the the special training of a veterinarian or suitable similar training in of a pharmacist in veterinary pharmacology. I believe the FTC should have the same conclusion from the information they have accumulated.