Independent veterinarians in the US have shown strong interest in a new co-operative aiming to provide them with the same buying power as corporate competitors.
The backers of The Veterinary Cooperative (TVC) hope to create what they call a level playing field, by countering inroads being made into profitability by internet sales and corporate players in the veterinary field.
Hundreds of veterinarians, practice managers and animal hospital owners reportedly visited its booth during the American Animal Hospital Association show in mid March.
Many expressed strong interest in becoming charter members, chief development officer Richard Morris said.
“Recent trends in the industry — including the entry of Wal-Mart into the market for selling prescriptions for pets, and The Fairness to Pet Owners Act that would require veterinarians to provide written disclosure that they can fill a prescription off-site — threaten the ability of independent veterinarians to compete fairly,” Morris said.
Veterinary advisory officer for the company Don Holst said: “When the buzz got around the show that TVC is planning to expand the co-operative to at least 5000 members, allowing them to buy at the same pricing as big-box stores – companies like 1-800-PetMeds and the growing animal hospital groups like VCA and Banfield – we became inundated with inquiries.
“Painfully, independent veterinary practices are realizing that unless we find a way to fight back against business lost from growing corporate competition, we may see the independent practice become a small part of the animal hospital marketplace, shrinking our profits as well,” Holst said.
The co-operative, which will be owned by its independent veterinarian members, aims to improve patient care, provide strategic sourcing solutions, improve operations and service, simplify management and expand marketing capabilities for members.
More information: http://www.tvc.coop/
Earlier report: Co-op aims to strengthen independent vets