Vet drug firms deny cartel claim

10 October 2001

Vet drug firms deny cartel claim

By Adrienne Francis

ANIMAL medicine manufacturers have denied that they are operating cartels to force up the price British farmers pay for veterinary products.

The denial came after the Competition Commission was ordered to investigate the price of prescription-only veterinary medicines in the UK.

UK medicine prices are substantially higher than elsewhere in Europe, found a report by the Office of Fair Trading on Tuesday (9 October).

The report suggests prices would be more competitive if more drugs were sold through High Street pharmacies in rural areas and market towns.

But Roger Cook, director of the National Office of Animal Health, which represents animal medicine manufacturers, denied cartels were operating.

Price differentials were down to the different costs of running a business in each European Union country, he told The Times.

“We cannot support any illegal activity, but we do not believe there is any,” the paper quotes him a saying.

British Veterinary Association president Andrew Scott said he was surprised with the timing of the Competition Commission investigation.

The government had yet to respond to its own review of how prescription medicines should be sold, he said.

British farmers have complained for years that they have to pay more for veterinary drugs than farmers in Europe.


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