Firstly, Agmatch is not Anti-Vet – in fact we are far from it!
There are some excellent Vets operating throughout New Zealand who offer great service. Our aim is to gain better pricing outcomes and market clarity for our members that both Vet Practices and Farmers can co-exist with.
Agmatch members are able to purchase an increasing amount of Vet only products prescription only (RVM) and non-prescription (OTC) through our Agmatch suppliers. This has taken 3 years to refine but the system now works very well, and offers an effective alternative supply to buying from your Vet.
We do recognise the need to have your Vet running a successful business so when you need them they are able to respond and make a fair living while doing so.
We have found some major differences in price in items that have been sold through some vet practices over and above what could be considered reasonable.
Our aim was to provide an alternate supply that forces resellers to meet the market and it has worked really well. Some Vets have charged excessive prices on both RVM (restricted vet medicines) and OTC (over the Counter non-prescription products)
Supply has been restricted to Vet Clinics so it has been a captured market. Clients have been faced with little choice but to pay the price asked.
Some of the OTC products have been Vet-only supply through negotiations with the suppliers; products have been withdrawn from or never made it to a wider supply. There is often a significant price increase in these instances.
This is anti-competitive and misuse of a protected market. These protected markets in the wider area of retail are uncommon.
In the initial stages of this initiative we were repeatedly told by Vets that the additional margin was required so Vets could offer the service they felt was required to ensure the best possible animal health outcomes. They also argue that some of these OTC products need to be used in a controlled way and that Vets are in a position to give the best advice on their use.
Our members and farmers in general value their stock and stock welfare is of primary importance unhealthy stock don’t produce well. Our farmer members take great care of their stock as their livelihoods depend on it.
After 3 years of working in this area and a lot of research our view is in these cases farmers frequently pay twice for consultations.
- Once for the consultation invoiced for the visit.
- The second on additional margin on the products.
Creating areas of grey where it is very difficult for clients to pin down what is a fair price.
There are some very fair minded well run Vet operations. However as in many areas of business this is not always the case. Sometimes especially with the Larger organisations it is just excessive overhead within the business that drives these costs up. While the smaller operations unable to buy at the rates that the larger ones can because of scale, So the smaller often have to pay more which makes it harder for them to compete on product pricing.
Our supplier has a fair sustainable margin on the product supplied, and mostly significantly better value. We now know what fair costings look like. Our supplier does not offer Veterinary advice just sells the product, will fill prescriptions from a Veterinarian much like the doctor chemist system with Human medicine.
A veterinary authorisation may be issued to a client to allow the purchase of a RVM from any person with an operating plan to sell RVMs approved under section 28 of the Act.
Our site makes what is available visible to our members where to buy it from with the costs of each product but will never try to steer you to a specific product, this is the domain of Veterinarians not Agmatch.
We will sometimes show comparative product trials so you are better informed and can ask your Vet if this may be suitable for your needs, but in the end the Vet will prescribe what is best for the animal.
Many of our members have been forced to make savings in their businesses over the last few years to survive. Vets who overcharge need to follow farmers lead so they can be more competitive, and better meet farmers budgets.
Many products are supported across the board in farming supply by rebates, free product, advertising contributions and some other incentives all behind the invoice.
The original intention of these behind the invoice incentives was to protect margin to make sure the business is run profitably covering its overhead load and head office costs these are typically paid quarterly adding to the standard mark up on the invoices for the overall business income.
In our view all of these different hidden types of reimbursement are additional margin and need to be viewed as such as they are all mark-up’s on the cost price of goods.
This move away from a simple margin where they are applied have an inflationary effect on the market leading to excessive overhead structure in many rural businesses has driven up farm input costs.
Unfortunately these incentives sometimes get used as a driver for specific supplier products with scaled percentages paid quarterly based on sales growth and set targets. There are many forms, free product, sometimes trips that encourage support for products from a specific supplier. While this is part of business, the effect of this has been that certain products get may be put aside that may offer better values based on levels of rebate. These incentives are seldom passed onto clients.
As the Vet only market has enjoyed such a protected supply arrangement real competition is past due.
How do you buy Vet only products through Agmatch?
- You will need to get a prescription from your Vet. Your vet is obliged to supply a script whether they like it or not. They will charge for the script this is a cost that must be factored in. To provide a written prescription the veterinarian must comply with the ACVM technical performance standards and VCNZ requirements around consultation. Under the Veterinarian Code of Professional Conduct http://www.vetcouncil.org.nz/CPC/VetMed/CPC_VetMedicines.php a veterinarian is strictly prohibited from denying a farmer a prescription for any restricted medicine that he or she would have been willing to provide themselves. Veterinarians are entitled to charge a reasonable fee for writing the authorisation. However, it would be unethical for a veterinarian to require that the client meet a different standard of consultation in order to be entitled to a written authorisation as compared to the standard of consultation that would normally be required if the veterinarian was dispensing the product. For example making the client undertake further diagnostic work because a written authorisation has been requested, when such work wasn’t considered necessary for the veterinarian to originally dispense the product themselves.
- Upload you prescription onto the site (link) ) If scanned the original prescription must be provided to NZ Vet Direct within 7 days
ACVM Notice: Requirements for Authorising Veterinarians. 28 August 2015
- If an authorisation is provided to the client for presentation to a legitimate seller, the authorisation must be recognisable as the original document (e.g. not a photocopy).
- If the seller is unable to fill the authorisation as specified by the veterinarian or wishes to suggest an alternative, that person is obliged to contact the authorising veterinarian to discuss alternatives. In such cases, if the authorising veterinarian considers an alternative appropriate, he or she can withdraw the authorisation and provide the seller with a new one. This can take the form of an electronic version directly supplied to the seller, but it must be documented and linked to the event record.
- Our supplier will fill the script and supply the product which will be delivered to your farm it is easy for our members.
Up until now a reasonable amount of what has been supplied has been supplied by members Vets but at a competitive price as the Vet knows that members of Agmatch do have competitive alternatives with clear pricing knowledge. If they do not offer better prices they will lose the business. Member’s savings have been extraordinary.
At this point we ask members to consider where these better prices came from and what would happen if our suppliers ceased to supply? Pricing would almost certainly go back to where it was quite quickly. We ask you to give our supplier support look at the deals that are offered and buy them on their merit and this will be fair to the Vets who have always had the opportunity to be more competitive. In order to keep it this way it is important our supplier stays in the market driving better pricings for all of our members..
Our members have benefitted significantly from this initiative which has already proven to produce very real savings. In areas where Agmatch is strong this has changed prices dramatically in products we have been targeting. With the maturing of our system we now can get most items just ask if it isn’t on the site we will find it.
We are not vets we will never try to influence members to buy a product based on its price and do not give Veterinary advice you need to discuss use of any of these products with your own Vet. Any prescription item must have a valid prescription from a registered Veterinary practitioner before supply is possible.
Under the Veterinarian Code of Professional Conduct a veterinarian is strictly prohibited from denying a prescription for any restricted veterinary medicine that he or she would have been willing to provide themselves.
If you are unhappy with the service you are getting and are having difficulties with your own vet let’s know we will log it and have a record of issues members have had their nature with the veterinary clinic’s details and would be happy to discuss this with your vet on your behalf. Also remember there are other Vets you can use. We will assist if we can with alternatives.
Any questions feel free to contact Ken on 021 337 626 or via email.