Monday, July 1, 2013

Drug Companies Try to Ban Compound RX for Vets

Today's Medical Monday deals with a critical issue to pet health care.

My Meds Matter, a medical watchdog site with a specific interest in custom compounded medications, recently posted an alert about a proposal coming before the U.S. Senate. If passed, this proposal would effectively ban pharmacies from compounding medications prescribed by veterinarians to treat dogs, cats, and horses.

photo via GOKLuLe, Wikimedia Commons
According to My Meds Matter, "customized medications can make all the difference is the world when these animals have a health issue.

The most egregious provision under consideration would limit the bulk ingredients that can be used in compounded medications to treat dogs, cats and horses to a positive list developed by the FDA.

There are no similar restrictions for elephants, giraffes, hamsters, other minor species— not even humans!

This could mean the elimination of important drug therapies that dogs, cats and horses depend on."

What's behind this push to ban compounding drugs? Apparently it's sponsored by the Animal Health Institute (AHI), a group created and funded by the big drug companies. Their member directory reads as a Who's Who of the world's major pharmaceutical companies: Abbot Laboratories, Bayer, Merck, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, Zoetis.

Will this proposal cause pharmacies like this one to be
a thing of the past? Photo: Sarah Smith
This feels like a clear conflict of interest if, by banning compounded medications, veterinarians are forced to use the very pharmaceuticals these companies produce.

But are compounded medications really that important? We asked Dr. Sara Huber of Leawood Plaza Animal Hospital to weigh in on the subject - and her answer was eye opening:

Dr. Sara Huber, DVM
Dr. Huber: "I use compounding pharmacies on a weekly basis for my clients and for my own pets! My cat Millie has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and asthma.

"When I try to pill her, she gets so worked up that she has an asthma attack and needs her rescue inhaler. I get her medications compounded into a transdermal gel that she tolerates really well.

"Without these compounded medications, I don't know that I would be able to get the medication into her without:
1. compromising her health and risking a potentially fatal asthma attack
2. ruining the bond between us.

"The last thing you want is for your cat to run away when they see you coming!"

I found this next point to be a very important one:

Dr. Huber: "Aside from just ease of administration, compounded medications help us dose our puppies and kittens and our toy breeds much more accurately.

"Most of the medications that we use are formulated for "adult-sized" cats and small, medium, and large dogs. We often have to treat 2 pound kittens, full grown dogs that are 4 pounds, etc.

"With compounding pharmacies, we can get the proper dose in an appropriate amount of liquid/appropriate sized pill to treat these little guys.

"Lastly, cost is often a factor when trying to medicate pets (it stinks that it has to be, but even people who love their pets more than themselves sometimes can't afford to do everything for them). Often times, a medication through a compounding pharmacy is more cost effective than the name brand veterinary equivalent or even human equivalent. This allows us to treat problems that may otherwise go untreated if the client simply can't afford it.

"Again, I take the compounding issue very personally because losing the ability to compound certain drugs would compromise my own pet. But I love my patients dearly, and using compounded medications has helped me to treat them more efficiently."

After reading this, we went out immediately and signed the petition at My Meds Matter to block the passing of such a proposal. To me, the critical issues are these three points:

1. Sometimes the best, most accurate dosage can only be given through a compounded medication.
2. Compounded meds may be cheaper.
If we can keep the cost of pet health care down, we can help more people afford to adopt.
3. Compounded meds can be far less traumatic to your pet when administered.

Please consider signing the petition also, and help keep compounded medications available to veterinarians across the USA.
Mister "I Refuse To Be Pilled."
 On behalf of my own persoal pilling nightmare, Faraday...I thank you.


  1. We'll go sign this petition. We have to see this happen. People need to get involved!

    Pee Ess - great informative post. Have a happy Monday! XOXO

  2. We know if Simba needed medicine we would have to have it compounded. He would never allow us to give him pills. Audrey is fortunately ok about hers.

    I have nominated you for an award! Come on over and find out about it.

  3. Good luck and we are we not surprised to learn that the big companies are behind the ban? Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. Same as Molly, will sign for you :) xx0xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  5. I have found compounded medication to be a Godsend and am very concerned about this. My Tara is on 4 different meds for her heart failure and if I had to give her that many pills per day instead of transdermal gels and liquid compounds I just don't know what I would do.

  6. We just signed the petition. We have a wonderful compounding pharmacy that really made it much easier when Angel Tamir needed some meds. We would hate to see that go away.

    The Florida Furkids

  7. Signed,sealed and delivered.

  8. Those are valid reasons to sign the petition. I'm not aware of any compounding pharmacies locally (which is a huge shame). Thankfully, I've gotten pretty good at pilling the cats and in masking crushed pills for Whisky. But I do think, for me at least, point# 3 is a huge plus.

  9. This is a very important issue! More humans need to know about it. I take pills fine, but I am a very small adult cat and compounding is very helpful for getting me the proper dosage of meds.

  10. I will sign this petition. My Tonkinese, Ethan absolutely refuses to be pilled! Just like your Faraday. If my vet couldn't compound, I will never be able to adminster meds that Ethan might need!

  11. This is just insane... thanks for sharing. I'll be signing the petitions in just a moment. Thankfully, this ban does not include compounded medications for birds and small mammals like hamsters... we almost exclusively use compounded medications for those types of animals.

  12. Once again a big$$$ lobby flexes its muscle to the detriment of the rest of us...Shades of Casino Jack

  13. Signing..

    I used compound meds for Em when she was still alive.. I would hate to see this valuable service go to the wayside.

    I so hope those that can toss this out have pets that need medications

  14. Zoey gets compounded medication. We can't let this pass!

  15. signed...paw crossed it helps

  16. We are unsure about this. Meds can be very good fer us, but some compounding pharma places are not so careful about what they sell. We want Beins ta look into this more carefully.

  17. We're not from the US but I think pet owners have to have this right to provide the medication that works for their pets.


  18. Mario's mom here - when Mario had stomatitis and had all his teeth pulled, his medicine after had to be specially compounded. I'm thankful for that medication becuase we could very well have been headed for more problems.

  19. That's so awful, yet also so predictable. I wrote an article about compounding for pets. Compounded medication is sometimes the only way we can get our cats do take their meds.

  20. That's terrible! It's always about money, isn't it?! WE have some animals at PAWS who get compounded meds. I signed the petition.

  21. Mom is heading over immediately to sign the petition.Thank you so much for sharing this information. Just another case of big money pulling the strings even if it hurts humans and their beloved animals. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  22. Elected officials can be really STUPID, sometimes. Thank goodness there are cats like you ready to set 'em straight!


  23. I signed and I'm pinning this important info.

  24. I'm signing. Compunded drugs certainly saved me when I was going through the Stomotitis problems about 3 years ago.


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