Welcome to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

10. Fair trading requirements

Updated 8 March 2013

Introduction

10.1  These responsibilities were agreed between the RCVS and the Office of Fair Trading as an alternative to legislation under the Fair Trading Act, to ensure that clients have access to sufficient information to be able to decide where to obtain veterinary prescriptions and medicines.

10.2  Veterinary surgeons must:

  1. ensure clients are able to obtain prescriptions, as appropriate. (A veterinary surgeon may prescribe a medicine of category Prescription Only Medicine, Veterinarian (POM-V), only following a clinical assessment of an animal under his or her care; a prescription may not be appropriate if the animal is an in-patient or immediate treatment is necessary);
  2. subject to any legal restrictions, ensure there is adequate provision of information on medicine prices;
  3. provide the price of any relevant veterinary medicinal product stocked or sold, to clients, or other legitimate enquirers, making reasonable requests;
  4. if requested, inform clients of the price of any medicine to be prescribed or dispensed;
  5. where possible and relevant, inform clients of the frequency of, and charges for, further examinations of animals requiring repeat prescriptions;
  6. provide clients with an invoice that distinguishes the price of relevant veterinary medicinal products from other charges and, where practicable, provide clients with an invoice that distinguishes the price of individual relevant veterinary medicinal products;
  7. advise clients, by means of a large and prominently displayed sign, or signs, (in the waiting room or other appropriate area), with reference to the following:

    "Prescriptions are available from this practice.
    You may obtain relevant veterinary medicinal products from your veterinary surgeon OR ask for a prescription and obtain these medicines from another veterinary surgeon or a pharmacy.
    Your veterinary surgeon may prescribe relevant veterinary medicinal products only following a clinical assessment of an animal under his or her care.
    A prescription may not be appropriate if your animal is an in-patient or immediate treatment is necessary.
    You will be informed, on request, of the price of any medicine that may be prescribed for your animal.
    The general policy of this practice is to re-assess an animal requiring repeat prescriptions for/supplies of relevant veterinary medicinal products every XX months, but this may vary with individual circumstances. The standard charge for a re-examination is £XX.
    Further information on the prices of medicines is available on request."

  8. provide new clients with a written version of the information set out in the sign, or signs, referred to in paragraph 10.2(g), which may be set out in a practice leaflet or client letter;
  9. on a continuing basis, take reasonable steps to ensure that all clients are provided with a written version of the information set out in the sign, or signs, referred to in paragraph 10.2(g), which may be set out in a practice leaflet or client letter.

10.3  A reasonable charge may be made for written prescriptions; such prescriptions for POM-V medicines may be issued only for animals under the care of the prescribing veterinary surgeon and following his or her clinical assessment of the animals.

10.4  A veterinary surgeon must not discriminate between clients who are supplied with a prescription and those who are not, in relation to fees charged for other goods or services.

Note: ‘Relevant veterinary medicinal product‘ has the same meaning as in The Supply of Relevant Veterinary Medicinal Products Order 2005; in brief, these are medicines of category POM-V, excluding medicated feeding stuffs.

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