Veterinarians in the United Kingdom are charging twice as much as online veterinary pharmacies for the same medicines, according to Vet-Medic Pharmacy, a U.K. online veterinary pharmacy, which recently revealed results from its cost comparison survey.
The survey, which was conducted by an independent research company, compared prices of pet medicines in supermarkets, pharmacies, pet superstores, veterinary practices, online pharmacies and veterinary medicine suppliers across the United Kingdom. The survey focused on the most commonly purchased pet health products and leading brands, including Frontline flea control treatments for both dogs and cats; Drontal worming tablets for both dogs and cats; and Optimmune eye treatment.
The survey revealed that vet prices were more than double those of the same product purchased online. For example, a six-pack of Frontline for cats is available online for about US $26, while the same product is sold in veterinary practices for about US $61, according to Vet-Medic.
The claim that veterinary practices are over-inflating the price of medicines is an unfair accusation, said Harvey Locke, BVSc, president of the British Veterinary Association.
“Veterinary practices will mark up the cost of the medicines they supply in order to cover the costs of keeping and dispensing them,” Locke said. “This includes having trained staff available, buying the necessary equipment and storage facilities that are governed by strict rules, and covering the cost of wasted medicines that have a short shelf life.”
Locke also noted that online pharmacies are able to buy larger quantities than the average veterinary practice due to the higher volumes sold.
“Many of the Internet prices revealed in the survey are around the same cost as veterinary practices can buy the medicines from wholesalers, suggesting that some of the Internet companies are sourcing cheaper drugs abroad,” he said.
“The BVA would therefore urge caution when buying from Internet pharmacies and recommend that pet owners spend time finding out where the medicines are sourced from. There are cases of fake medicines that look genuine being sold. These medicines are placebos at best and dangerous at worst.”