7 August 2000
Academic investigates vet medicine charges
By FWi Staff
A LEADING academic has been appointed chairman of a group to investigate claims that vets charge too much for medicines.
Professor Sir John Marsh CBE will chair the Independent Review of Dispensing by Veterinary Surgeons, the Ministry of Agriculture announced on Monday (07 August).
Sir John was Dean of agriculture and food at Reading University and director of the centre for agricultural strategy based there.
His extensive CV also includes stints as chairman of the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales and as a member of the Burns committee on hunting.
MAFF has also announced the appointment of vet Dr Jeremy Lucke, farmer John Moffitt and former Lord Mayor of Oxford Lady Patsy Yardley as group members.
The group will review the current practice whereby virtually all veterinary prescription only medicines (POMs) are dispensed by veterinary surgeons
It will consider the impact this has on prices and availability and look to see whether some products currently classified as POMs should be more widely available.
For years, British farmers have questioned why they have to pay more than their counterparts elsewhere in Europe for POMs.
The Scottish NFU has claimed UK farmers paid as much as 200% more for some antibiotics compared with those in Ireland.
The review was announced as part of the governments action plan for farming launched in March.
The group holds its first meeting on 9 August and will report back to ministers by 31 March 2001.
Competition watchdog the Office of Fair Trading is also investigating the supply and pricing of veterinary medicines in the UK.