Competition Commission Inquiry into the distribution of Veterinary POMs

UK - Animal Health and Welfare Minister Elliot Morley today welcomed the publication of the Competition Commission's report on the Distribution of Veterinary Prescription only Medicines.
calendar icon 11 April 2003
clock icon 3 minute read
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The Competition Commission's inquiry followed complaints to Defra Ministers about the costs of veterinary medicines. The complaints were referred to the Office of Fair Trading and then to the Competition Commission.

The Competition Commission report recommends a number of remedies, relating to trading practices that are directed at the industry and the veterinary profession.

In summary, the changes proposed by the Competition Commission aim to increase competition by

  • requiring manufacturers and wholesalers to supply POM veterinary medicines to pharmacies on the same terms as to veterinary surgeries
  • allowing vets to supply POM's to animals not under their care
  • requiring vets to publicise the availability of written prescriptions (but not to charge for such prescriptions) and the price of their most commonly prescribed POM's
The report proposes changing the regulatory system to:
  • increase the availability of veterinary medicinal products by making less POM
  • increase the choice of using the centralised authorisation system
  • using costs as one of the factors for authorising a medicine and determining its distribution category
  • simplifying the arrangements for imported decentralised products from other member states

    making the Veterinary Medicines Directorate more efficient
Mr Morley said he was pleased the Competition Commission had undertaken a thorough inquiry and that their comprehensive Report provided clear explanations for the decisions that had been reached.

"This is a helpful document in the debate on the regulation of veterinary medicines and will hopefully lead to improvements in that area. Defra will consider carefully the recommendations made to the Secretary of State on the veterinary medicines regulatory system," he added.

Source: DEFRA - 11th April 2003
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