Just to be clear - selling a product for a profit, even for what seems like an excessive profit - is not a kickback. It's capitalism.
I did it at every opportunity as a retailer and I recommended the products I believed were most appropriate for the project at hand.
That doesn't explain, of course, why anyone would recommend Science Diet.
And it irks me that, IMO, some vets DO sell only SD. And I get a very uneasy feeling when a vet has never even heard of Nature's Variety - I know it's not the best, but certainly up there with the best of them.
Looney Tune, I'm so sorry about what's going on with your dog. Like someone else has said, it sounds like he/she shouldn't even be practicing. You know, some CROOKS are very very good at what they do & that's such a shame.
I'll keep your dog in my prayers.
People want it because vets recommend it. Which simply begs the question again: why do vets recommend it? Keep on avoiding answering that question, Mr.V.
I've already answered that myself, but here's the reason from the Hills people themselves (via 'some random vet student's blog):
Folks can read more about the vet-school marketing strategy of Hills since the 70s and 80s here. Their ENTIRE shpiel revolves around getting vets to sell their product for them.Take this excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article** (note that Hill’s is owned by Colgate-Palmolive):
“I was struck by the similarity of our world-wide toothpaste business, with the endorsement of the dentists being so important,” Mr. Mark says. “I knew if we did the same thing with Hill’s, it could be an enormous global brand.”
So, similar to Colgate’s spadework in dental schools, Hill’s now funds a nutrition professorship in nearly half of the nation’s vet schools. Hill’s employees wrote a widely-used textbook on small-animal nutrition that is distributed for free to students. Hill’s also sends practicing veterinarians to seminars on wringing more profit from clinics and offers the only formal nutrition-certification program for clinic technicians. In a savvy marketing coup now being copied by other pet-food companies, Hill’s each year donates tons of free food for the pets of cash-strapped veterinary students.
Still, it's so CRAZY to think there's something shady about all these these 'minor coincidental connections' between pet food and pharmaceutical companies and many vets! Because apparently, working in an animal-based field automatically makes vets immune to all the conflicts of interest that such connections cause in human medicine.
It's a 'conspiracy theory' to believe vets are human beings the same as anyone else, apparently.
I've read it here and said it myself: Do not get canine nutritional advice from your vet.
The only food I've ever bought from my (very good) vet was prescription food for a short-term condition. And he doesn't push food.
I don't have to wonder if it's happening in that profession b/c that IS my profession so I know what happens and what does not (when you're talking about something on such a large scale). You can dance around it all you want Pai but I'm not avoiding anything. You stated that there was kickback and I called you out on it b/c you have no clue what you're talking about. That's what this topic is about, that's what I am focusing on, and that's where you are wrong. Again, i stated that there are plenty of bad apples that do shady stuff in every profession, this one is no different. So, APPARENTLY you still have no found the ability to read.
Stick to what you know b/c you're clueless when it comes to this subject.
--Pay a little more attention to the quote in your sig...
Last edited by Mr. V; 08-26-2010 at 04:30 PM.
01-09-2010 12:18 AM OMG! Brilliant post! You are like...a total genius *swoon* <3 <3 <3
Kobe the Fluffy Tail - Mar '05
Syl Stormblessed - Dec '13
Also, while companies do provide fellowships, free (human and dog) food, and other goodies for both students and vets, and while these things fall into an ethically gray area, they aren't technically kickbacks as the receivers aren't required to sell or promote anything for those companies. I do think it creates a conflict of interest, that such as relationship does bias vets and students towards certain companies and products, and that anyone who thinks that isn't the case is incredibly naive. But they're not kickbacks.
I linked it because it describes how drastically the veterinary field has expanded since the 1980s, in terms of the money involved and the scope of services offered. That growth was reflected in the way large pharmaceutical and pet food companies began getting involved in it:
Some people have the misconceptions about the scale and money involved in the veterinary field nowadays -- the change happened relatively rapidly, so lots of people still have the image in their heads of the 'simple country vet' being the norm, when that is increasingly not representative of the reality anymore. However, ethics laws and regulations surrounding the field have not kept pace with this evolution, and leave a lot of loopholes and allowances for things that would never be tolerated in human medicine. Pet owners need to be aware of this, and choose their vet with care.According to the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates drugs for the veterinary market, the pharmaceutical industry in recent years has begun shifting its energies away from the agricultural market and toward companion animals. The number of new drugs approved for veterinary use has increased dramatically in the past decade, with special interest in drugs for behavior modification and pain relief.
[...] All of this has put new pressure on the ordinary neighborhood veterinary clinic. Vets, who 30 years ago needed little more than a stethoscope and an Army surplus field X-ray machine to set up a practice, now equip their clinics with an array of expensive diagnostic equipment, from blood-analysis machines to ultrasound scanners. Even setting up a small practice costs upwards of $500,000.
The average veterinary bill -- which has tripled in the past 10 years -- reflects this. The price surge was not an accident. It is the direct result of a half-a-million-dollar study commissioned by the leading veterinary professional organizations in 1998 to figure out why veterinarians' salaries lagged far behind those in human medicine and in such professions as law and engineering. The study, by the business consulting firm KPMG, cited federal statistics showing that veterinary practice incomes had declined during the 1990s, a decade when many other professional incomes rose.
The study concluded that veterinarians were failing to run their practices as the demanding businesses they had become. Pressed by competition, vets were mortgaging their practices to buy expensive equipment but charging clients prices that hadn't increased much since the 1970s. The veterinary profession called the study's findings a "wake-up call" and set up a national commission dedicated to encouraging vets to concentrate harder on the bottom line.
These days, veterinary school graduates enter a profession more focused on management economics than ever before, and one in which ethical questions long familiar to human medicine are only now beginning to surface. Veterinary malpractice cases, once rare, are on the rise. State courts have begun awarding aggrieved pet owners sums as high as $30,000 for pain and emotional suffering, instead of limiting damages to simple replacement value of the animal, as in the past. Veterinary insurers say this change will drive up costs, but others, including some vets, say the change is inevitable and overdue. "Vets can't come into the examining room saying, 'What's wrong with your baby? What's wrong with the little boy?' and then, if they make a mistake that kills the baby, act like they broke your ashtray," says Robert Newman, a California veterinary malpractice lawyer.
[...] Many pet owners do not realize that the FDA's approval process for veterinary medicine is far less rigorous than the one for human medicine. Human drugs typically are tested on tens of thousands of people before reaching the market. With veterinary pharmaceuticals, for reasons of cost, that number is much lower, according to the FDA, often in the low hundreds. "In reality, when new drugs are released in the marketplace, the first two years of animals using it are the actual test population," says the Whole Dog Journal's Kerns.
That has been the case with a family of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, which have been widely and successfully marketed in recent years to relieve arthritis pain in older dogs. Ten months after the first of those drugs, Rimadyl, hit the market in 1996, the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine had received hundreds of reports of serious, sometimes lethal, side effects in dogs that were taking the drugs. In the wake of those reports, according to the FDA, the drug's manufacturer, Pfizer, met with the FDA, revised and expanded the drug's list of serious side effects and sent out a "Dear Doctor" letter warning vets to use greater caution when prescribing Rimadyl and similar drugs. More recently, the warning has expanded to include an advisory against switching between different brands of the same drug concurrently.
With the variety of veterinary pharmaceuticals increasing all the time, some critics worry that busy vets may rely too heavily on pharmaceutical company salesmen for their information about the efficacy and safety of new drugs. "The vets tend to flip through the pamphlets [from the salesmen] and say, Yeah, that sounds good," Kerns says. Too often, Kerns says, pet owners leave the veterinary clinic with prescription drugs but without the warning circulars that human patients receive as a matter of course.
Nonetheless, the demand for new medicines and better diagnostics is expected to soar in the coming decade.
Pfizer) are involved in it just the same. It's a recipe for trouble, imo.
Do vets get any sort of canine nutritional training when going through vet school?
Some people will believe anything as long as it fits with their opinion, even when someone who is right there in the mix of the topic at hand is trying to tell them what really is happening.
If I change the word 'kickbacks' to 'lots of free stuff', it doesn't really make it sound that much better. Here, I'll even go back and change it right now.
The fact that all he has to argue over is the definition of a single word and not the actual corporate practices going on in his field says more than I ever could on the topic.
Hills sponsors and runs the nutritional education programs for about half of the vet schools in this country.
I think dog foods fall into the same category. With a busy practice - and does anybody know a vet who isn't swamped?? - I can imagine it becoming very easy to go with the foods you know, touted by the companies you know.With the variety of veterinary pharmaceuticals increasing all the time, some critics worry that busy vets may rely too heavily on pharmaceutical company salesmen for their information about the efficacy and safety of new drugs.