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Thread: Vets and Drug Charges

  1. #1

    Vets and Drug Charges

    My Dog is on Metacam for arthritis, it keeps him comfortable and I confine his 'work' to a gentle stalk into a high seat (that he then waits under) and then a sedate trot to the carcase or more usually back to the car; it keeps him stimulated and provides easy non-strenuous exercise. We all know our dogs well and I am convinced that this is good for him.

    Anyway, I just called my Vet for a repeat prescription as usual and out of curiosity asked for the price which is 47.56 for 100 ml. Because I'm a little bored, I thought I would look it up on line through the site where I buy his Drontal and Frontline - I was stunned to find that their price is 14.90 (no postage).

    Now I understand my Vet practice has premises, overheads and vet salaries to pay, but even so, if BestPet make money at 14.90 and I assume they must do, how can a Vet possibly charge 47.56? I asked the lady on the phone who waffled randomly. Apparently for me to buy it on line would require a prescription, which they will write for 8.80, tbh I could give a toss about the money I just hate to be gouged.

    Am I Victor Meldrew incarnate or is this justifiable, if so how?
    Would appreciate opinions

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Simple answer. Your prescription requires a vet. The vet requires a practice. The practice requires staff. Staff charges include holiday pay. The staff requires pay. The vet requires tools. The vet pays vat. The vet requires premises. The vet needs a car. The vet pays rates and mortgage. The vet needs a wage. Even the time the vet uses to write the script needs to charge something towards all these things.
    Vet meds and the like are chemists. Far less overheads and bulk purchasing. You go to supermarket you expect supermarket prices. Go to a bespoke tailor don't expect market stall bargains.
    you are paying for a vet to be there when it is not just a packet of pills you need. Like corner shops without trade vets close. Your choice.

  4. #4
    I put 5 a week into a sweetie jar and at the end of the year my vet has pocketed it all...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo123p View Post
    Simple answer. Your prescription requires a vet. The vet requires a practice. The practice requires staff. Staff charges include holiday pay. The staff requires pay. The vet requires tools. The vet pays vat. The vet requires premises. The vet needs a car. The vet pays rates and mortgage. The vet needs a wage. Even the time the vet uses to write the script needs to charge something towards all these things.
    Vet meds and the like are chemists. Far less overheads and bulk purchasing. You go to supermarket you expect supermarket prices. Go to a bespoke tailor don't expect market stall bargains.
    you are paying for a vet to be there when it is not just a packet of pills you need. Like corner shops without trade vets close. Your choice.
    Yes I see and understand all of that, and if it was a tenner more than the on line price I wouldn't give it a second thought, even twenty pounds and I'd pay that in order for the practice to keep going. But 14.90 vs 47.56 seems like gouging to me; this is 4 times per year too.
    I think they'd be better charging more for the consultation (which is where their expertise lies) and less for the drug (where they are essentially just a retailer).
    Just my view.

  6. #6
    Quote "I just called my Vet for a repeat prescription as usual" unQuote
    That is the bit that annoys me.
    Not a consultation, not a practice visit, not a call out and dog not seen; so the cost is far too high

    8:00 is ok-ish for a prescription that gets written in 60 seconds

    As a supplier, what the dispensary charges for the medication is up to them.

    Where you choose to make your purchase is up to you

  7. #7
    It does seem like a rip off but if we all bought medication online the vets would have to make up for the loss in other areas like increasing the price of consultation. You can buy near enough everything online but only to the detriment of local businesses. But please don't get me wrong, I do what i can to save money but there is a point were I draw the line between supporting businesses and making a saving.

  8. #8
    Very few vet practices are actually making anything like healthy profits - in the main, they're trundling along on the edge of solvency, and many really struggle to update their equipment or invest in improved facilities.

    Each practice has a different strategy for making some profit: some charge high consult fees and cut back the mark up on drugs. Some make it up on routine surgery (spays and the like), and some make it up with a big mark up on the most commonly prescribed drugs (metacam being one of those).

    Virtually no one involved makes as much as they would if they'd gone into human medicine - often by an order of magnitude. And they often work longer hours, have to retain a broader spectrum of skills and knowledge, and run considerably greater personal and financial risks.

    I am not a vet, but my wife is - and I get less and less patient with people who are so quickto criticise vets. People are so used to the fact that drugs and treatment are essentially free on the NHS that they expect veterinary care to be essentially free as well, and really have no concept of how expensive it is, or, in general. how hard vets work to keep the costs down.

  9. #9
    Will BESTPET answer the phone at 2 in the morning on a Sunday when your dog needs seen? or spend any number of minutes on the phone, discussing things, formulating treatment plans, researching diagnoses, processing laboratory samples? reading the literature to stay up to date with all the diseases of all the animals they may see?

    I can understand why charges seem high, but when you break it down drug sales have to subsidise equipment purchase and maintenance, ongoing training, insurance, etc etc etc. Vets cant buy metacam for 14.90 from the wholesaler!! in fact it is at least 10 more expensive to buy in! economies of scale rule and vets are, individually only a tiny market, hence do not command high discounts.

    Just hope your dog doesn't get cushings, the cost of those meds will make the wallet wince!

  10. #10
    Rather topical: the first sketch on 'That Mitchell and Webb Sound' on Radio 4 this evening.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03kqg03
    Last edited by Dalua; 11-12-2013 at 19:34.

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