Most of the animal owners face a real challenge in tackling ticks, fleas and lice which infests their animals resulting in reduced productivity and health. Even more importantly, they are also concerned about the zoonotic nature of those infestations.
In-fact, field veterinarians are mostly smart enough in choosing the best molecule to tackle this menace, but the issue is also related to the compliance on the animal owners’ side. And, animal owners are often unaware of the many marketing gimmicks, tactics and arm-twisting practices of the trade.
Field practitioners are often concerned with the indications and contra-indications of the product. Other than this, many pharmaceutically significant aspects influence the real field effectiveness and product compliance.
A simple point to illustrate is that, many synthetic preparations are photo-sensitive and as such, these products may have undergone considerable degradation before reaching the client !
Typically, the product would have been exhibited in the trade counters for days and kept even at window-panes of animal shelters before it was applied. This stresses the importance to choose a reliable and time-tested product from the market as proven manufacturers always (or know how to) use more ‘ chemically stable or competent ‘ formulations.
This raises question to the mere concept of “chemical analysis” to prove label claim and effectiveness. Emulsion properties, particle size, water miscibility, penetrability, biological activity, therapeutic index, mammalian toxicity and rheologic properties are only a few of the other numerous parameters considered.
Also important is the knowledge about the combination of formulations you choose. When you choose a particular brand of ecto-parasiticide for spraying around the animal house and resting places, it is equally important to use similar classes of compounds to be applied as dusting powders. This gives an extra edge to your tick & flea control programme. Be cautious when preferring brands that cannot complement your strategy, i.e., using different formulation of the same chemical, at the same time. Of course, one formulation may be quiet effective; but use of different molecules at the same time may induce conditions of cross-resistance.
Compliance of a product starts right from the ease of opening the containers ! Some of the containers are too strong, secure or tiny that it may be quite difficult for the animal keeper / owner to open it efficiently without any difficulty or spill offs. Ask your vet to open such ‘secure’ or ‘ tiny’ containers themselves and imagine how the laymen would have handled it. Many of the containers are just adaptations of other product packings or use of idle machine lines. As you would agree, the containers should be of reasonable size and sealing for client convenience.
Also, the highly priced product need not always be the best in the market. Pricing of similar formulations of different companies are wildly deviating. Then, where are these huge margins diverted ? Truly, such products are not priced on the cost price plus margin, but certainly on the concept of how much you can afford to pay or opportunity cost.
Ask the product executive of each company about their trade discount structure and free offer trade policies ! Probably, it will be difficult to know the real situation; but if you get the chance, you will be amazed to know the real market game. Obviously, the heavy free-trade-offer pushing is seen for the new market entrants as well as for the poor product players. For certain antibiotics, there are even 1:1 free offers in the wholesale trade, just for “retail counter – pushing ” !
On the other hand, stronger brands can always offer competitive pricing by mass production and balancing their overheads on a range of their own products. Again, remember to avoid spurious, inferior or cheap products. Quite sadly, ‘copy-cats’ follow the most unethical means of selling.
Here is where the vet’s prescription preference decides; whether the animal owner can afford such inflated / unethical pricing or the vet’s ability to strike a balance between product performance and market dynamics. Or do you think the animal owners would comply the prescription when he finds the product too expensive?