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Alliance supports CMA’s investigation into vet sector

The CMA is looking at five key areas that affect UK pet owners.

The Countryside Alliance is backing the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) proposed investigation into the UK veterinary sector, further to its market review in September 2023.

The review, which received an “unprecedented response from the public and veterinary professionals”, identified five key areas that warrant further investigation. These areas include: the information given to pet owners about choosing the best practice and the right treatment for their needs; weakening competition in concentrated local markets; large, integrated veterinary groups acting in a way that weakens or reduces competition; the price of medicines or prescriptions; and the strength of the current regulatory framework.

The proposed investigation would be formal and, during its review, the CMA consulted on making a market investigation reference (MIR). This would allow the CMA to use its full powers to investigate its concerns and, if necessary, intervene in areas where competition is not working to the advantage of customers. Companies under investigation would be compelled to provide information, and the CMA would be able to deploy a range of “legally enforceable” solutions to better inform pet owners on a range of issues.

The Countryside Alliance added that further CMA investigations should also examine the growing pet insurance market and its impact on driving up costs.