For Release: 09/12/2012

FTC Announces Agenda for Upcoming Pet Meds Workshop

Event Will Be Held at FTC Conference Center in Washington, DC, on October 2, 2012

The Federal Trade Commission has posted an agenda for next month’s workshop focusing on the pet medications industry in the United States.  FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz is scheduled to provide opening remarks, and will be joined at the event by industry members, veterinarians, and other professionals involved in the sale of pet medications.

The October 2, 2012, workshop will examine the ways pet medications are distributed to consumers, and how these practices affect consumer choice and price competition.  Among other issues, the workshop will consider the extent to which consumers are able to obtain written, portable prescriptions that they can fill wherever they choose, and their ability to verify the safety and effectiveness of the pet medications they buy.

The workshop will open with introductory remarks on both the veterinary profession and the pet medications industry. This will be followed by a series of participant-hosted panels on how pet medications are distributed, the portability of prescription pet medications, and lessons learned from the contact lens industry regarding restricted distribution and portability issues.  The FTC’s Office of Policy Planning is hosting the event and will provide closing remarks. Biographical information will be posted on the workshop webpage for each presenter and panel participant prior to the workshop.

Competition & Consumer Protection Issues in the Pet Medications Industry

8:45am – 9:00am
Opening Remarks
FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz

9:00am – 9:15am
Workshop Framing Remarks

Stephanie Wilkinson, Attorney Advisor, Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission

9:15am – 9:45am
Introductory Presentations - Overview of Veterinary Profession

Overview of the Veterinary Profession: Dr. Douglas Aspros, DVM, President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Companion Animal Practitioner

Overview of the Pet Medications Industry: Dr. Paul D. Pion, DVM, President and Co-Founder for the Veterinary Information Network (VIN)

10:00am – 11:45am
Panel Discussion on the Distribution of Pet Medications

Discussion of current industry distribution practices for pet medications, including vertical restrictions imposed by manufacturers and the emergence of a secondary distribution system, and how these practices affect consumer choice and price competition for over-the-counter and prescription pet medications.  Discussion of whether consumers can adequately verify the safety and efficacy of products purchased from non-veterinary retailers and pharmacies.

1:00pm – 2:45pm
Panel Discussion on the Portability of Prescription Pet Medications

Introductory Presentation: Mr. Adrian Hochstadt, Assistant Director of AVMA’s State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division

Discussion of consumers’ ability to obtain written, portable copies of their pet medication prescriptions, and whether pending federal legislation, H.R. 1406, Fairness to Pet Owners Act, is necessary for the further development of a competitive marketplace.  Discussion of potential consumer savings opportunities that may result if legislation is passed, as well as the legislation’s potential impact on veterinary practices.

3:00pm – 4:30pm
Panel Discussion on the Lessons Learned from the Contact Lens Industry: Modeling Effects of Restricted Distribution and Prescription Portability on Consumer Markets

Introductory Presentation: Sydney Knight, Attorney, Division of Advertising Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission

Discussion about the impact of the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act and the elimination of restricted distribution practices for contact lenses.  Discussion of the similarities and differences between the contact lens and pet medication industries, and the degree to which the evolution of the contact lens industry provides a reliable basis for predicting the potential consumer cost savings and non-price benefits that might result from eliminating vertical restrictions for the distribution of pet medications and empowering pet owners with prescription portability.

4:30pm – 4:45pm
Closing Remarks

Andrew I. Gavil, Director, Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission

The workshop is free and open to the public, and pre-registration is not required.  It will be held at the FTC’s satellite conference center at 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC. Additional information about registration can be found on the agency’s website.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs

Stephanie A. Wilkinson
Office of Policy Planning

Last Modified: Wednesday, September 12, 2012