Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tonight - 16 March 2009

Tonight - Undercover PetsI guess this is a relatively old article now as the program was a week ago. But having watched the Tonight program - "Undercover Pets" on my "Generic Digital Video Recorder" I thought it worthy of a mention.

The program could have gone into much more than it did. I appreciate it focused on those vets deliberately fleecing their clients, or just plain abusing them. Most of the program seemed to deal with the issue of where a number of vets "played the system" and charged for unnecessary treatment.

The most interesting aspect for me though wasn't the abusing and bad behaving vets, but the savings claimed by buying drugs online. It really is true that huge savings can be made, and I've ranted on this before (see here) - but what the presenter completely skipped is the fact that even making these savings online will require you to pay a prescription fee. A fee that could heavily outweigh the savings.

Stand and Deliver
My recent treatment suggested I take on some more Diazepam for emergency use. So rather than take 1 box of 5 10mg rectal tubes the vet recommended double that, to use 2 x 10mg at each episode. I guess dad fell into the trap of accepting the easy solution and not having found them at the regular online pharmacy, ordered the 2 boxes.

They said it would be a week before they had them in stock, which wasn't an issue as I still had a while before my next cluster, if it followed the current schedule.

So today dad went to collect the Diazepam. I guess he should have got the price first as they came in at £63.98, £31.99 for each box of 5. There was a thud and some smelling salts involved. But Dad being dad still took them and paid, after all he'd made the deal and ordered them.

After emailing the online pharmacy they said whilst it wasn't available online as it wasn't in their usual supply, they could source exactly the same product, with only a one day turnaround for £13.44 per box of 5!!! So even if we paid £12 for a prescription the total would be £38.88 (£13.44 x 2 + £12) a huge saving of £25.10 - and the vet still makes £12 out of the deal.

Now remember that the consultancy which recommends these drugs is being paid for. So now to get a prescription - which is just putting into writing what has been said in the paid for consultancy, I must now pay again. Which in real terms makes the consultancy £20 + £12. But now take a step back as this isn't a one off £12.

In my case I need 4 prescriptions - 1 for Epiphen, 1 for Potassium Bromide, 1 for Previcox and 1 for the Diazepam - and I need to pay for each and every one of them! Sure I get a discount from the £12 on each subsequent prescription (they aren't always at the same time so mostly £12 a time), but now I'm paying more for prescriptions than I am for consultancy... still a saving overall, but surely the RCVS must concede this is a foul practice?

Is this why pet insurance cost are rising?

Now what other industry could practice like this?

Let's say you have a car and it has a problem - you're no expert so you take it to a mechanic. The mechanic charges you £50 to look at your car and says you need 4 new tyres and some oil and he can supply them for £500. So you go and find the same brand tyres and oil and can buy them for £250. But the laws says you can't buy them unless the mechanic writes you a note - and he's going to charge you £100 for the note for your tyres and another £50 for the note for your oil.

You still have made use of his technical ability, his qualifications and knowledge - but you paid him for that. Do you think the car industry would survive, would the consumer stand for it? So, why is it different with pets? Because we are emotionally attached and in most cases will pay whatever to keep our loved ones with us, that's why.

There is a link to my current pharmacy on this site. I have no affiliation and make no revenue, nor make any gains from your clicking the link. It's there only to open your eyes and offer up a place for you to start.

So next time - THINK BEFORE YOU BUY. Don't rush into taking your vets offer before you've checked online for the product your vet is offering. Not only can you save money but you could even learn more about the medication and question why the vet has prescribed that particular product. Something cheaper or with less ill effects may be available. The Internet is a wonderful resource that is free to use - so invest your time to save your money.

Bear the Rottweiler (as featured on the Tonight program) what a gorgeous dog and so fortunate to have Tamara Baker his owner so driven to do everything she could for him. We're sorry for your loss and know that Bear has nothing but love and gratitude for your efforts.


  1. Entirely agree. My vets make my blood boil with the amount they charge. I've looked online at prices too (thyroid tablets for cats) but our vet won't even do a repeat prescription without seeing the moggy anyway - so that's already a consultation fee. It's a sheer rip off - they definately take advantage of domestic pet owners. My friend has sheep - she was charged less than £100 (can't remember the figure now but I nearly passed out it was so cheap) for a ceasaran section on her sheep in the middle of the night - I paid £220 smackers for my cat to have 2 teeth out! Huh. If this recession continues they'll be a lot of people who just can't afford it which will unfortunately will probably more abandoned animals rather than lower prices. Pity. And next time I'm using string and a door handle!

  2. Thankyou Roxy. I am Tamara, Bear's mummy and your words mean so much. I miss him every single day. We missed having Bear in our lives so much that we have now got another rottie puppy. The amazing thing is it transpires that our new pups grandmother was Bear's sister and he does have quite a few similar characteristics!!

  3. Hey, glad you dropped by, and more impressed that you actually found us. I'm pleased to hear you have a new Rottie, they're just such a wonderful companion and friend.

  4. I found you via somebody posting a link to a thread on a rottie welfare discussion on facebook!!!