June 1, 2021

Financial consequences for veterinarians due to reduced antimicrobial sales – an economic model

4 min. read

The excessive consumption of antimicrobials has become a major concern at the global level, and several studies have highlighted the link between antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance. Strategies such as the Swiss National Strategy “StAR” have been implemented to reduce the disposal of antimicrobials in farm animals. In Switzerland however, veterinarians make economic profit by disposing antimicrobials to farmers. A reduction of sales will therefore inevitably lead to a reduction in revenues for the veterinarian.

The excessive consumption of antimicrobials has become a major concern at the global level, and several studies have highlighted the link between antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance. Strategies such as the Swiss National Strategy “StAR” have been implemented to reduce the disposal of antimicrobials in farm animals. In Switzerland however, veterinarians make economic profit by disposing antimicrobials to farmers. A reduction of sales will therefore inevitably lead to a reduction in revenues for the veterinarian.

In collaboration with the Bovine Health Service of Zürich, SAFOSO implemented a study to investigate alternative economic systems in which the disposal of antimicrobials will not be linked to economic benefits for the prescriber, and how a potential loss of income due to a reduction of AM sales in the Swiss veal calf sector could potentially be compensated. Economic models at the veterinary practice level were built to evaluate the effect on the net profit of veterinary practices, following four different national policy interventions that aim to reduce antimicrobial prescriptions for veal calves. The best-case scenarios resulted in a positive net profit, whereas scenarios assuming complete loss of profit from antimicrobial sales resulted in very low or negative net profit.

Therefore, the results showed that without financial support (e.g. through the government or other entities), veterinarians are likely to find it difficult to fully compensate the economic losses. At the practice level, income compensation mechanisms require a fundamental change of the business model. New models should be largely independent of pharmaceutical sales and should promote paid counselling on herd health management.

The publication can be accessed here: https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1d3Hcc6kEb3Z9

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