Price-Sensitive Pet Owners Shifting to OTC Pet Pharmaceuticals

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Price-Sensitive Pet Owners Shifting to OTC Pet Pharmaceuticals

The companion-animal medical market has witnessed strong growth due to increased pet ownership around the world and the growing bond between owners and their pets, leading companies to ramp up their offerings of pet care and luxury services, which range from cancer and arthritis treatments to cat and dog massages, acupuncture and specialty services. But a new report from life science market research publisher Kalorama Information, "World Veterinary Health Products (Animal Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines, OTC and Performance Enhancers)," notes that price sensitivity and an improved distribution network are leading many pet owners to forgo visiting the vet in favor of purchasing OTC products directly.

The high cost of prescription drugs is creating increasingly price-sensitive customers who are being driven to OTC brands, a trend that’s being amplified by the current recession. Also, the rising demand for pet nutraceuticals, including anti-parasitics and products for treating joint mobility, is fueling growth on the OTC front. Kalorama estimates the $4.9 billion market for OTC products will grow 5.2 percent annually through 2014.

Some manufacturers are developing separate OTC brand identities for their products in partnership with OTC manufacturers. For instance, Merial introduced an OTC version of its Ivemectin brand to compete in both the Rx and OTC markets for anti-protozoals in pet care.

Because many veterinary health products are conversions of human pharmaceuticals, most veterinary companies have thrived as smaller divisions of the bigger companies. As such, they are facing the same issues as their parent companies, including the impact of rising R&D costs, pricing pressures, a reduction in new product innovation, generic threats, and customer price sensitivity in favor of more OTC products.

"While manufacturers' current product lines continue to generate revenue, they are finding that sales by veterinarians are decreasing as consumers shift to alternate sales channels and OTC products," notes Bruce Carlson, publisher of Rockville, Md.-based Kalorama Information. "Part of the reason is the economy, but it's also because it's been made easy for consumers. They can buy OTC products on the Internet, or in pet stores, supermarkets and other superstores, which is leading to price erosion and commoditization."

"World Veterinary Health Products (Animal Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines, OTC and Performance Enhancers)" discusses the issues and major trends driving the world medical market for production animals (livestock) and companion animals (pets). For each product segment, the study provides market size, growth and forecasts, product reviews and pipelines, and competitive analyses of leading providers. For further information, visit