Today's Veterinary Business

APR 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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14 Today's Veterinary Business Business (Continued from cover) The Beginning It was 2008 and the economy was tanking. "We had just purchased a practice that was suppos- edly doing $1.7 million a year in business," Dr. Gray said. "We quickly figured out that they were doing fraudulent medicine. The previous owner agreed to stay on for a year but was gone in six weeks. He moved to another state. "By the middle of 2009, business was going poorly. I'd never diverted before, but an opportunity arose. A guy I knew in Florida — I'd met him at a veterinary manage- ment meeting — contacted me to say he was starting a diversion company selling product into the Caribbean. "He told me to call my pharma rep, said he knew her and she'd sell to me. He had me buy 150 cases of flea product, and he paid me 10 percent over what it cost." Until then, his normal order was about 20 cases. For him, diversion was a way to keep his business afloat and his staff employed. It wasn't about helping the enemy. It was a question of survival. Dr. Gray said he had an acquaintance in Wisconsin who was primarily a dairy farmer but worked with small animals on the side. "He would buy 400 cases of flea product at a time and make 10 percent [on the transaction]. It kept him alive through the winter. Flea product to a dairy practice?" One veterinary pharmaceutical company was honest with Dr. Gray. "They just said, 'We make drugs and will sell to anybody,'" he recalled. "'We don't care what you do with them.'" 100 Cases at a Time Dr. Gray has been a veterinarian for more than 40 years. In addition to owning practices, he has worked in veterinary medical research and is a certified financial planner. As a diverter, he said, he would buy 100 cases of flea products or painkillers at a time, making almost $100,000 a pop. "That order should have made anyone suspicious," he said. His supplier was ecstatic, he said, not suspi- cious. "My rep wanted me to buy even more." But another company's rep noticed. "I got into an argument with the rep," Dr. Gray said. "She wanted to get into my computer and match my NSAID sales against purchase orders. I declined, and they blacklist- ed me. So now we buy their flea products and painkillers through our other clinic." In the Know His gray-market life was known to at least four colleagues, he said. When he was considering diversion, he talked it over with them, and they knew when he jumped in. No one reported him. While diversion might be considered unethical, it is not illegal. How one veterinarian became a diverter of pet medications, and why he might do it again. Business A dark secret

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