EU and UK competition law expert, Stephen Smith, has been quoted in Global Competition Review’s article on 7 September 2023, ‘CMA launches long-anticipated vet sector review’.
The piece summarises the CMA’s review into the veterinary sector and how the CMA is ‘seeking feedback on the functioning of the £2 billion market.’ The country’s antitrust watchdog highlighted a ‘sharp increase in consolidation across the UK’s veterinary sector’.
Stephen Smith said that the market review has been expected for some time due to the significant amount of consolidation in the sector.
It is notable that the authority decided to launch a review rather than a more formal market study or investigation, which indicates it has placed greater emphasis on the views of pet owners, vets and their staff – partly through spreading awareness of the review on social media – and not just from the head offices of corporate vets, he added. He also noted that the last major review in the market was launched by the UK’s Competition Commission – a predecessor to the current watchdog – in 2001.
Since that report was published over two decades ago, competition from veterinary pharmacies for the supply of prescription medicines has increased, and online veterinary pharmacies have proliferated, Stephen commented.
‘That means the dynamics are quite different now than they were 20 years ago and no doubt this will form part of the CMA’s review,’ he said.