Focus Point - Better Drugs for Dogs

Commentary by Pete du Pont

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

An associated press story recently posed the question whether drug companies favor pets over people. The question arose when some pet owners noticed prescription drugs used for both humans and animals were cheaper when bought from their vet rather than their pharmacist.

Congressional investigators recently discovered that among fourteen popular drugs marketed to people and pets, the cost for the two-legged consumers can be up to five times higher.

One reason is that drugs given to animals piggyback on the lengthy, expensive approval process needed for humans, while humans absorb the cost. Another reason is that insurers or government programs often pay for people's prescriptions, which increases the demand for drugs and the overhead for pharmacists, who must file claims for reimbursement. That raises drug prices. On the other hand, pet owners buy carefully because they're paying out of pocket.

So, short of Congress making major free market reforms in health care, it's odd but true, it's sometimes cheaper to buy drugs from the vet than the doctor.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, environmental nonsense.