a dog at the vets
Dog Health,  Industry News

CMA launches review into the vet sector

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a review looking at consumer experiences and business practices in the vet sector for pets in the UK.

The review is seeking views from pet owners and people who work in the veterinary services sector regarding pricing, how medication and prescriptions are arranged and sold, choosing a vet surgery, and using out-of-hours services where options might be limited.

The CMA said it was concerned that pet owners may not find it easy to access the information they need about prices and treatment options to make good choices about which vet to use and which services to purchase.

According to figures cited by the CMA, the cost of vet services has risen faster than the rate of inflation, which is something that the body will be looking into as part of its review.

What’s more, the ownership of vet practices has also changed in recent years – independent practices accounted for 89% of the UK veterinary industry in 2013, which fell to approximately 45% by 2021.

In some cases, a single company may own hundreds of practices and it may be unclear to people whether their vet is part of a large group, the CMA noted.

It added that people may also be unaware if their vet is part of a group which owns other vet practices in their area or that the services which are being sold to them (such as diagnostic tests or treatments at a specialist animal hospital) are provided by that group.

CMA Chief Executive Sarah Cardell said: “There has been a lot of consolidation in the vet industry in recent years, so now is the right time to take a look at how the market is working.

“When a pet is unwell, they often need urgent treatment, which means that pet owners may not shop around for the best deal, like they do with other services.

“This means they may not have the relevant information to make informed decisions at what can be a distressing time.”

You can respond to the review here.

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