- Competition from ‘human’ pharmacies continues to grow
- New tools can help practices provide better care, convenience, price
- Comprehensive pet health insurance such as Whole Pet With Wellness is an essential element to keeping dispensing in-house
For years now, veterinarians have watched pharmacy sales leave their practices. It was a trickle at first, with a few online, call-in or catalog competitors luring clients away. And then big-box retailers saw opportunity to take even more.
Business aside, veterinarians have legitimate concerns about the ability of pharmacists to safely and accurately dispense medications for dogs and cats. A DVM360/Vetted article on a study by Brakke Consulting Inc. and Trone Brand Energy suggests that pharmacists don’t even realize they should be concerned. Only 13 percent of pharmacists are worried they won’t fill pet prescriptions properly. By contrast, 74 percent of veterinarian are concerned about this issue. (With good reason, as this article from VIN News reveals.)
Worry over safer pet prescriptions isn’t going away. From the article:
[C]ompetition from human pharmacies is likely to heat up more—more than 50% of pharmacists responding to the study say they either fill pet prescriptions now or plan to—and that you should brace yourself for calls as they get up to speed.
Those are for legitimate pharmacies. Not all sources of pet prescriptions are, of course, a situation the U.S. FDA has felt compelled to address with warning letters.
Is there any way to reverse or at least slow down this trend? Could veterinary practices finally be getting some of the tools they need to help keep clients buying from their own veterinarians — while providing safer pet prescriptions as well?
The answer to both questions is yes.
If your practice uses an online store on your website for non-urgent dispensing and/or refills, you’re already aware of one of the potential game-changers. But the price of medications no matter where they’re purchased is still a problem for many pet-owners. That means comprehensive pet health insurance — like our new Whole Pet With Wellness — shows very strong potential when it comes to helping veterinary practices oversee the safe dispensing of medications.
Simple plan, no surprises
Plans like Nationwide’s Whole Pet With Wellness are leading the way, with simple plans that cover almost everything a veterinarian does, prescribes or recommends. At 90 percent of invoice, with a low annual deduction and no annual cap. About the only items not covered by Whole Pet With Wellness are pre-existing conditions, boarding, grooming, taxes and medical waste disposal fees. (Really. Check the fine print. )
We’ve said from the first that this is the best pet insurance ever. When you drill down into the details, that’s still true. Pet-owners want top-quality care for their animal companions. Veterinarians want to practice top-quality medicine. Whole Pet With Wellness makes both of these things possible.
Of course, clients may still take pet prescriptions to the big-box retailers (and some always will, even with the best pet insurance in the world). If they do, then they’re covered under Whole Pet With Wellness. That’s what we’re here, after all.
But I’m pretty sure that when price isn’t a factor veterinarians will be able to talk about the safety and convenience of the practice’s own in-house or online pharmacy. Those are conversations the veterinarian will always win.
As Chief Veterinary Officer for Nationwide, I’m delighted to provide the veterinary community with financial solutions that will help you with those conversations.
There are reasons why Whole Pet With Wellness is proving to be a hit with pet-owners and the veterinary community alike. Prescription coverage that makes your pharmacy’s convenience and safety matter to your clients? It’s just one of the many reasons to recommend it to pet-owners when talking about pet health insurance.