a dog at the vets
Dog Health,  Industry News,  Lead

Competitions authority presses ahead with full investigation into vets market

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a full investigation into the veterinary sector, following an initial review last September.

The CMA’s last review outlined a number of key concerns – which remain the same – including:

  • Whether consumers are getting the information they need, at the right time, to make informed decisions.
  • A limited choice of vet businesses in some local areas is impacting pet owners.
  • Profits earned are consistent with the levels expected in a competitive market.
  • Vet businesses have the incentive and ability to limit consumer choice when providing treatments or recommending related services, particularly when they are part of large integrated groups.
  • The regulatory framework is preventing the market from functioning as well as it could.

An inquiry group made up of independent experts will oversee the investigation, which additional evidence, examine concerns in more depth and shape any remedies that may be needed to address the issues.

The first few months of the investigation will focus on gathering additional evidence from a wide range of stakeholders and conducting analysis.

CMA Chief Executive Sarah Cardell said: “The message from our vets work so far has been loud and clear – many pet owners and professionals have concerns that need further investigation.

“We’ve heard from people who are struggling to pay vet bills, potentially overpaying for medicines and don’t always know the best treatment options available to them. We also remain concerned about the potential impact of sector consolidation and the incentives for large, integrated vet groups to act in ways which reduce consumer choice.”

A Pets at Home spokesperson noted: “We will continue to fully cooperate with the CMA to ensure our unique and pro-competitive business model of locally-owned vet practices is fully understood.

“Whilst our brand is national, our veterinary practices are led by individual entrepreneurial vets who have clinical and operational freedom and work tirelessly to always put pets needs first. We also hope that this investigation will provide an opportunity to shine a greater light on the incredible work provided by clinical and practice teams across the country and open up a conversation about much needed change and reform within the veterinary profession.”

The CMA has also provided top tips for those struggling with vet costs, including:

  • Look further than the closest vet;
  • Ask if there are other treatment options;
  • If it’s not urgent, consider buying the medication elsewhere.




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