Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Retail giant PetSmart, which has been challenged by growing online competition in the pet products arena, hopes to boost its bottom line by selling animal drugs over the internet.
If successful, the Phoenix company’s initiative would cut into a major revenue stream for veterinarians. The market research firm Packaged Facts in August estimated that U.S. veterinarians capture 62 percent of U.S. retail sales of pet pharmaceuticals.
A pet’s veterinarian would play a key role in assisting PetSmart with its online business.
“During the online ordering process at PetSmart.com, pet parents simply enter information about their pet and veterinarian into the user-friendly PetSmart Pharmacy online form,” the company stated in a Sept. 28 news release. “From there, fully licensed and pharmacy-certified PetSmart pharmacists coordinate with the veterinarian. Once validated, prescriptions are filled and the products are shipped directly to the pet parents’ homes.”
Sales of pet drugs away from a veterinary hospital are not new. Pharmacies operated by mass-market retailers such as Walmart, Target and Walgreens accept and fill veterinarian-issued prescriptions.
Mass marketers hold a 20 percent market share for pet pharmaceuticals and internet sellers a 12 percent share, Packaged Facts reported.
PetSmart Pharmacy also sells and delivers three lines of therapeutic pet food: Hill’s Prescription Diet, Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets and Royal Canin Veterinary Diet.
PetSmart is promoting an auto-ship feature that “enables automatic scheduled refills of medications or veterinary diet formula food.” The company does not sell pet narcotics.