Archive for May, 2015

After 2.5 years studying pet meds market, FTC calls … drumroll … for more study

DVM360 Magazine

Report presents misguided conclusions but does not demand federal legislation mandating veterinary prescriptions.

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Report presents misguided conclusions but does not demand federal legislation mandating veterinary prescriptions.

On May 27 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finally issued its report on pet medications stemming from its Oct. 4, 2012, workshop on the topic in Washington, D.C. Industry observers and participants (including this blogger) have been waiting for 30-plus months to hear what the FTC had to say, and now we know. I will write about this flawed report in more depth in coming weeks, but let me set the stage for dvm360 readers at the grass-tops level, not down in the policy weeds.

First and foremost, the FTC did not come out with guns blazing and call for federal legislation. This had to disappoint critics of the veterinary profession and those lobbying for the latest versions of bills in Congress demanding portable prescriptions for every veterinary drug prescribed. These bills have generated virtually no interest in the U.S. House or Senate since they were first introduced back in 2010, and their advocates keenly waited for an FTC report that could pump some fuel into the legislative engine. That did not happen with this report.

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Connecticut legislature launches veterinary sales tax effort

DVM360 Magazine

Veterinarians’, pet owners’ input needed before June 3 session close date.

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Many state legislatures are winding down for 2015, but Connecticut threw a curve ball at the veterinary profession and pet owners as it barrels toward a June 3 end date. On April 30, the Connecticut Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding surprised everyone and dropped a veterinary services sales tax in to a nondescript government-financing bill (S.B. 946), which would effectively add 6.35 percent to every pet owner’s bill for services in the Nutmeg State.

This surprise was designed to solve a political problem in a tax-heavy state by lowering certain taxes while adding a long list of professional and consumer services to the tax rolls. Other professions such as accounting jumped into the fray, but no group has engaged more effectively and rapidly than veterinarians. The Connecticut VMA organized a broad grassroots response initiative and, most importantly, showed up in droves at a May 11 hearing to challenge the tax.

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A peek at veterinary education and a political update

DVM360 Magazine

Cushing visits five veterinary schools and notes a current quiet on the legislative front.

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Apologies for this blogger’s recent absence, but a delightful speaking tour of U.S. veterinary colleges has distracted me from my usual posts. Seems an opportune time to comment on recent doings.

The state of American veterinary education is in good shape, despite catcalls from critics. After visiting five schools (Purdue, Tufts, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Mississippi State), I found graduating students have multiple job offers, practice ownership is returning as a career path of interest, awareness grows of strategies to tackle student debt, schools and students are pursuing expanded opportunities for rural mixed animal practices, communication training is picking up speed, school after school is increasing the number of spay/neuter surgeries performed before hitting the job market (some provide up to as many as 70 soft tissue surgeries pre-graduation), and faculty and students alike are pushing the envelope for more public health opportunities for veterinarians and turning One Health from a grand concept to a strategic, practical career path. It was a diverse and inspiring trip.

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