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Barking up the right tree? The CMA's proposed market investigation into the veterinary sector:

On 12 March 2024, the CMA published a report identifying several concerns in the veterinary sector following an initial review in September 2023.
Joe Siman
14th March 2024

Independent practices made up 89% of the veterinary sector in the UK in 2013 and by 2021, only 45% of practices were independent.

Notably, the CMA has made a provisional decision to undertake a formal Market Investigation.

The CMA’s initial review received a staggering 56,000 responses.

The CMA identified five key concerns which it is likely to investigate further:

  • consumers may not be given enough information to enable them to choose the best veterinary practice or the right treatment for their needs;
  • concentrated local markets, in part driven by sector consolidation, may be leading to weak competition in some areas;
  • larger integrated groups may have incentives to act in ways which reduce choice and weaken competition;
  • pet owners might be overpaying for medicines or prescriptions; and
  • the Regulatory framework is outdated and may no longer be fit for purpose.

The CMA has now begun a four-week consultation during which it will seek views from the veterinary sector on its proposal to conduct a market investigation.

The consultation will close on 12 April 2024.