Veterinary Marketing Association
Allen Parton (pictured centre) was guest speaker at the
annual VMA House of Lords debate on 9th October.
After two introductory presentations from association presidents Andrew Praill (BCVA) and Mark Johnston (BSAVA), and the involvement of two Lords - Professor Lord Trees and Lord Soulsby - attendees at the annual VMA House of Lords debate discussed a number of areas that were felt to have the potential to impact on the future the animal health industry.
The message from Mark Johnston was that the future for the companion animal sector has never looked so rosy - with record cat and dog populations and owners prepared to put their pets first even in times of economic hardship.
Hardly surprisingly, discussion covered the issue of vets relying on margins from products sold to make ends meet. Discussion was steered away from internet pharmacies on the basis that we had covered this in the 2011 meeting, although this channel is clearly still felt to pose a threat to some vets.
The threat posed by generics, felt by some to make it harder for pharmaceutical companies to invest in new product research and development, led to discussion on whether the current patent protection period of 20 years was adequate. It was highlighted that the process of bringing a product to market, often taking up to 10 years of the 20-year patent protection period - could perhaps be simplified.
Rather ironically, the ban on promotion of prescription only medicines to farmers was only briefly mentioned, and this just a few days before the VMD's announcement on banning antimicrobial advertising to farmers, which comes into force in October 2013.
In a slight change from the norm, Allen Parton from Hounds for Heroes was invited to close the meeting. He delivered an emotionally charged presentation that was able to move the audience from tears to laughter in the space of one sentence.
The day was completed with the traditional reception and lunch in the Cholmondley Room overlooking the River Thames.
The VMA had great pleasure in making two charitable donations on the day. President, Nick Henderson, presented cheques for £1000 each to Allen Parton (Hounds for Heroes) and Lord Soulsby (Companion Animal Welfare Council).
The VMA would like to thank all who contributed to this meeting, particularly Lord Soulsby without whom we would not be privileged to hold the meeting at the House of Lords.
The meeting was planned and organised by VMA committee members Claire Williams of Pfizer and Sarah-Jane Minter.
Letter of thanks from Allen Parton
The 2011/2012 annual review is now available online for members. You will need to log in using your user credentials to view the report.
The review is available here.
Forthcoming VMA Events
Corporate reputation, issues and crisis management
8/6/13 - Venue TBC
12/9/13 - Venue TBC
House of Lords debate
9/10/13 - London
VMA Annual Awards
March 2014 - London
You can register for these events here