Why Are Pet Flea & Worming Meds So Expensive?
Date Posted:19 April 2022
If you own a dog or cat, there is a good chance you are using a flea, tick & worming treatment like NexGard, Comfortis, Advocate, Revolution or Simparica for your pet. Each time you purchase these, you are likely thinking "Why is this stuff so expensive?". There are a couple of reasons why it costs as much as it does.
The Time & Cost of Getting the Product to Market
It takes years and millions of dollars to get these pet medications to market. Only so many companies have the means & ability to do this.
First you need to be able to come up with a formula. This means you need to either pay for very qualified people to do this or pay for a formula that someone else has created. Both of these are expensive and you are still years away from seeing a dollar back for these costs.
Great, they have a formula. Now you need to make sure it is safe & effective. This means running tests to make sure that these will do what they say and are not going to cause any harm to your animal. Remember, you have spent a lot of money on developing this product, so you better hope that it works.
You have just spent a couple of years developing and testing the product. Now you need to get approval from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). This is another timely & costly process. It is also necessary and lucky we have this strict approval process to protect our pets from any dodgy medicines.
Pharmaceutical patents last 20 years in Australia. That means the product ingredient cannot be used by anyone else for that time period. After that 20 years is up, it can be made & sold in the generic form. By this time, the product is often out dated.
Taking it to Market
You have a product and the approvals, now you can actually try to sell it. No one has heard about it and everyone is skeptical about the quality.
How do you educate people about this product. Well the best way to do this is through vets and specialized pet stores. That means you need to hire sales people to go into vet clinics and stores to show them the product and give it away for free for staff to use. At this point your product better be good because you need to convince people that deal with these products everyday as to why it is better than the product people are already using.
Obviously to let the masses know about your new pet med, you need to market it. This is generally done through TV Ads, Billboards, Bus Stop Signage etc. If you have never seen the cost of these ads, you would fall over. Some get noticed and some don't, either way it is going to cost you a lot of money. Portraying what your product does in these ads is not easy. Most people are not going to take in if the product treats dogs for fleas, ticks, worms and heartworm or if it treats for just fleas, worms and heartworms. It is a confusing product range with bizarre names people have a hard time pronouncing.
Selling it to stores
It has to get to the stores somehow. This is usually done by a middle man distributor. Of course, they don't do this for free. It is also risky when they purchase a $200,000.00 with an expiry date that they don't know how long it will take to sell.
Selling it to consumers
Finally the consumer needs to purchase it through a store. Whether this is vet, brick & mortar pet store or online pet store. You might be thinking, the stores are making a killing when you hand over $80.00 to $120.00. The reality is that price is not far off what the stores pay for this. I can tell you now, the store does not buy it for $50.00 and sell it for $100.00, they are more likely purchasing for $85.00 and selling for $100.00.
This is a very simplified version of the process and shows you how that end cost for the pet flea, tick & worm treatment gets to the price it does. The good news is, these products keep getting better. Which means your dog & cat are getting the best protection.
Written by the PETZOO Team
PETZOO team are a group of pet industry experts with backgrounds in animal care, nursing, zoo keeping and all things pet related.