Livestock and pet medications that are manufactured and sold without proper FDA approval potentially put the lives of both animals and people at risk. As a result, the FDA is stepping up its efforts to halt the sale of illegal animal drugs.
“There are different pathways to FDA approval and legal marketing of an animal drug product, but each pathway requires a drug company to expend both time and financial resources to generate the appropriate scientific evidence to support the approval,” Martine Hartogensis, D.V.M., Deputy Director, Office of Surveillance and Compliance at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine wrote on the FDA Voice blog. “Companies that bypass the FDA drug approval process may be endangering the animals given unapproved drugs and people who either handle the unapproved drugs or eat food from animals treated with them.”
The agency wants to ensure all pet medications that make their way onto the market have been tested.
"Our enforcement actions could include seizures of violative products and/or injunctions against manufacturers and distributors of unapproved animal drugs," Hartogensis continued. "We also continue to regularly update the agency’s web page on unapproved animal drugs with information for veterinarians and industry."
Last month, the FDA reported dairy farmers who've been breaking existing laws regarding the use of illegal antibiotics. The report found that not only are some farmers using antibiotics not included in standard testing, but medications that aren't supposed to be used in dairy cows at all.
It’s difficult to know how widespread the practice of selling illegal pet medications has become, but it’s large enough that the agency sees fit to crack down on the rule-breakers.
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Image of veterinarians treating livestock via Shuttershock