Milestone reached for US-based veterinary cooperative

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A US-based enterprise set up three years ago to bring the benefits of bulk buying to smaller practices has now become the largest national cooperative serving veterinary clinics.

Membership of The Veterinary Cooperative (TVC) has doubled in the past 12 months alone to more than 1000 independent clinics across the US, representing more than 10 percent of those who belong to a cooperative or group purchasing organization.

Currently, its members represent more than $US1 billion in revenue of the $34 billion spent annually on veterinary care.

The cooperative, started in 2012 by four veterinarians, aims to level the playing field for independent veterinary hospitals in the face of growing competition from large corporate hospitals, big-box pet retailers and online pharmacies.

The member-owned cooperative negotiates with vendor partners for exclusive, favorable pricing and rebates on nearly all clinic purchases, including laboratory services, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, hospital equipment, flea and tick products, office products and more.

Allison Morris, who is vice-president of member experience at TVC, said more than 8000 clinics now belonged to a buying group and more than 2000 were owned by corporations.

“This adds up to about 43 percent of all clinics in the US, participating in programs that allow them to compete with retail and online outlets by utilizing discounts, rebates and other advantages.

“At this current rate of growth over 90 percent of all independent small-animal clinics will be owned by a corporation or part of a purchasing and marketing group within five years.”

TVC has no monthly or annual fees, and members buy only the products they want from the suppliers they choose.

“We’ve seen a great deal of consolidation in the distribution and manufacture of veterinary medical products and services, and we believe it will continue,” Morris said.

“In addition, we know that the number of corporate clinics is growing about 20 percent annually and their same-clinic revenue is increasing 10 percent yearly.

“Since the veterinary care market is not growing by 10 percent a year, independent veterinarians who are not growing by that amount are likely experiencing erosion of revenue and clients, leading to profit erosion.

“We’re committed to making sure that TVC members have access to the business knowledge, marketing programs and pricing they need to successfully compete in today’s marketplace.”

To mark its third birthday, the cooperative has reduced its standard one-time lifetime joining fee from $US1000 to $US100 for the next 100 members, with a free 30-day trial. Contact Allison Morris at 847-370-3765 or visit http://www.tvc.coop/fish.

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