The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the agenda for the Pet Meds Workshop Oct. 2 at the FTC Conference Center in Washington D.C. The workshop will examine the distribution of pet medications and how business practices affect consumer choice and competition through a series of participant-hosted panels.
The workshop will open with remarks from FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz and workshop framing remarks by Stephanie Wilkinson, FTC Attorney Advisor, Office of Policy Planning. An overview of the veterinary profession will be given by companion animal practitioner and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) President Douglas Aspros, DVM, followed by an overview of the pet medications industry given by Paul D. Pion, DVM, president and co-founder for the Veterinary Information Network (VIN).
Ashley Morgan, DVM, assistant director of the AVMA’s Government Relations Division, says the association is eager to participate to provide as much accurate information about veterinary prescription writing as it can. In response to the pending Fairness to Pet Owners Act, H.R. 1406, that would require veterinarians to always provide a written prescription to clients, she hopes the AVMA can promote the understanding that there are “more things that go into it than just jotting it down on a piece of paper and sending clients of their way.” The workshop will address H.R. 1406 and whether it is necessary for a competitive marketplace during a panel discussion on the distribution of pet medications and the portability of prescription pet medications.
Adrian Hochstadt, assistant director of the AVMA’s State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division will give the introductory presentation. The Federal Trade Commission’s Sydney Knight, attorney, Division of Advertising Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, will present the panel to discuss “Lessons Learned from the Contact Lens Industry.” It will discuss the Fairness to Contact lens Consumers Act and the elimination of restricted distribution practices for contact lenses. The panel will use the contact lens industry as a comparable model to the pet medication industry to predict potential consumer cost savings and non-price benefits that might result from the expansion of pet medication distribution and prescription portability.
The workshop will conclude with closing remarks from the FTC’s Andrew I. Gavil, director, Office of Policy Planning.
Morgan encourages veterinarians to communicate to the FTC through the federal register at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/petmedsworkshop/  and answer any of the questions presented for the workshop and share concerns. The register creates questions for the workshop through the comments. “We’ve been hearing a lot from our members on this,” Morgan says about the current issues surrounding pet medications. “Their concerns are being heard.”
She says there will not be opportunity for public comments or questions at the workshop. The deadline to submit comments closes Sept. 14. “The time to weigh in is now,” Morgan says.
To see the full workshop agenda and biographical information for each presenter and panel participant prior to the workshop, go to the workshop webpage at http://www.ftc.gov/opp/workshops/petmeds/index.shtml .