A recent news article in the Star-Telegram discussed the popularity of chain store pharmacies offering pet medications at a highly discounted rate. This trend has put many veterinarians in a bind because they cannot compete with the prices of stores like Target and Walgreens.
Unfortunately, in a tough economy, everyone, including pet owners, are looking for ways to cut costs. A spokesperson for Kroger said the company started offering pet perscriptions because they were asked so often by pet parents if that was an option.
Some of the generic medications offered by these discount pharmacies include the steroid prednisone, the antibiotic amoxicillin, and tramadol, which is used for arthritis and pain relief.
Veterinarian Lowell Ackerman is quoted as saying that because veterinarians can’t compete with $4 generics, that they should stop stocking the generic drugs altogether and focus on stocking higher-priced, pet-only labeled drugs. But others are considering raising prices all around to make up for the loss. Tennessee veterinarian Ronald Whitford, for example, is urging fellow veterinarians to make up the revenue lost on pet medications by charging significantly more for advanced veterinary services. This could eventually make veterinary care even more expensive than it is today, putting certain procedures out of reach for some pet parents.
Yet another reason to consider pet insurance. No matter how high those veterinary costs go, you will always have the peace of mind that you will be able to afford it because of your pet insurance policy.
What are your thoughts? Do you buy your pet medications at discount pharmacies? And do you think it’s fair that veterinarians would need to raise prices to compensate for losing the pet medication business?