Practices will no longer have to display posters listing the names and costs of the top 10 medicines they supply, after the RCVS argued the posters did not serve their purpose.

Practices will no longer have to display posters listing the names and costs of the top 10 medicines they supply.

The move comes after pressure from the RCVS on the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to drop the trading requirement, after the college argued the poster “did not entirely serve its purpose”.

Practices no longer have to list there top 10 medicines salesHowever, the OFT has asked the notice advising clients that they can obtain a prescription from practices be made even more prominent.

Commenting on the use of the poster, RCVS president Jacqui Molyneux said: “Having seen how this has worked in practice, we have been keen to push for change because it was felt the list could be confusing to clients.”

The requirement for the poster was brought in eight years ago, following a Competition Commission investigation into veterinary medicine sales. The poster, along with some other requirements, was enforced via the RCVS as an alternative to legislation under the Fair Trading Act, to ensure clients had access to sufficient information to be able to decide where to obtain veterinary prescriptions and medicines.  

The poster had to include information about prescriptions and repeat prescriptions, together with the “10 relevant veterinary medicinal products most commonly prescribed during a recent and typical three-month period”.

However, according to the college, how the most commonly prescribed has been calculated has often varied – for example, by price, volume and number of prescriptions – and different formulations, brands or pack sizes of the same active ingredient could cause confusion.

Mrs Molyneux continued: “We have also been mindful of the fact the ways consumers access information has changed radically over the past seven years or so, with internet searches becoming more prevalent.

“These factors conspired to make the list less meaningful as a tool that allowed consumers to shop around. It is thus hoped that the removal of the list will reduce potential misunderstanding among the public.”

The poster removal will run as a trial for six months, monitored by the RCVS and the OFT, and if there is no appreciable level of complaint from the public, the change will become permanent.

Photo courtesy of Hampton Vet Centre
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