- Pets and Animals
Be wary of online bargain pet medicines
In a case of pet parents vs. scoundrels, we find pet owners who are just looking to save money on medicines for their pets, in the cross hairs of those who have no regard for animals, but a high regard for easy money.
They prey upon pet owners, exploiting what’s known in the trade as “the humanization of pets.”
This phenomenon has incentivised scientists and business people to develop new treatments and medicines and is responsible for the array of pet products now on store shelves.
They'll say just about anything
Marketing has reached the point of excess; so much so that one pet food company touts, “Farm Grown Carrots” on its packaging. I guess they’re distinguishing their farm grown carrots from, say, those lower quality hardware store grown carrots.
But, many of us will just blindly take that as a positive without giving it a second thought. Exploiters especially love us for that.
A number of years ago the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned us about the dangers of ordering pet medicines online.
What prompted the warning back then was the easy availability of counterfeit flea and tick control products known as spot ons.
Some online sources were selling repackaged product that was near or beyond its expiration date.
Compounding the problem was that some medicines and parasite control products offered online originated in foreign countries where dosing is different than in the U.S.
But, the words “Made in the USA” are absolutely reassuring to most of us. I hear that all the time. If it’s made in America, what could possibly go wrong? Well, here’s one example of what could go wrong and, in fact, did.
Back in April, 2017, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) a division of the Department of Homeland Security teamed up with the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (the other ICE) to catch a bad guy swindling pet owners by trafficking in counterfeit labels and packaging of flea and tick products and medicine.
The CEO of a company called Action Packaging and Design, Paul S. Rodriquez, Jr., pled guilty to intentionally trafficking in counterfeit labels and packaging.
Between July 2015 and December 2016 his company manufactured counterfeit and trademarked Frontline and Frontline Plus labels and packaging.
They also manufactured counterfeit Merial veterinary product labels and packaging. Merial is a worldwide animal health company, with 13 R& D facilities and 15 manufacturing facilities, that manufactures medicines for pets and farm animals.
But wait...there's more!
Rodriguez’s company also intentionally trafficked in counterfeit trademarked RIMADYL labels. Many pet owners are familiar with RIMADYL, a product of New Jersey company Zoetis, which is the arthritis medicine most commonly prescribed for dogs.
Rodriguez will face a sentencing hearing on October 2, 2017. The scoundrel is free on bond until then. But he’ll get his in the end, as he’s facing up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible 2 million dollar fine.
So much for “Made In The USA.” While it talks a good story, it’s no assurance of quality or safey. You may be familiar with the Evanger’s recall of February, 2017.
Some of their canned product contained pentobarbitol, the drug used to euthanize animals. At the time of the recall, the product was linked to one dog death and sickness in several others.
In an online report on March 2, 2017 FDA said, “Additionally, the agency concluded an inspection of the manufacturing facilities on February 14, 2017, and noted numerous significant concerns with conditions found at both the Wheeling, IL and Markham, IL plants.
Also bear in mind that products made off shore are not automatically bad. Many countries adopt American or European Union standards for safety and purity.
But, alas, manufacturers in countries with a widely regarded reputation for having very loose standards are out there, too.
Growing up I heard the phrase caveat emptor (Google it, GenXers and younger) a lot, but not so much anymore. Might be smart to resurrect it.
© 2017 Bob Bamberg