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Report Highlights Lack of Competition

28 April 2005

Report Highlights Lack of Competition

Farmers should shop around for the best price before purchasing dry cow therapies and other veterinary medicines this year, said Don Nicolson, a National Board member of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

The advice follows the results of a Consumers' Institute report* which exposes huge variations in pricing of Prescription Animal Remedy (PAR) drugs at veterinary practices.

"The independent report backs Federated Farmers' long-held view about a lack of competition in the PAR market, which has resulted in some veterinary practitioners taking advantage of their position and over-charging," said Mr Nicolson, the federation's spokesman on veterinary remedies.

"The report says that some vets are blaming higher prices on ‘new’ record keeping requirements of the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act and the resultant need for longer consultations. However, there are no new requirements under the Act and practices with good administration have adapted easily – with no extra costs passed on to the farmer," said Mr Nicolson.

"Just because vets have until recently had the privilege of being the only suppliers of PAR's does not mean they should be adding high hidden ‘consultation’ costs to PAR prices.

“The benefits of monopoly positioning will always be defended by the provider, and for the veterinary profession it is time for them to adapt to some competition in the marketplace, just as farmers have to," Mr Nicolson said. *The Consumer Institute report is available at www.consumer.org.nz/dairyfarm

ENDS

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