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14 Apr 2024, Edition - 3197, Sunday

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Same medicines turn dearer for pets, regulation call grows louder

Archana Rohit


Pets with their unconditional love helps in better quality of life but comes with a heavy price.

Meeting the pet’s expenses like veterinary hygiene products, food, grooming supplies and medicines can be quite expensive. Veterinary medicines are costlier than ones for humans.

The Indian pet care market is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of more than 20 per cent between 2017-18 and 2021-22. The market is categorised into four segments – food, accessories, grooming and healthcare – according to The Indian Pet Care Market Outlook 2022.

Antibiotics prescribed for pets are the same that are consumed by humans. However, pet medicines are priced high. Some medications were justified having a higher price as the composition differed. “I come from a pharmacy background. Hence it was easier for me to reach to consensus that just like any other business, drug companies keep a higher margin to make a return on their investment in their products,”, says Icon Pharmaceuticals co-owner Dhruv Joshi Pet dog owners often buy medicines for common problems like infections, knee joint pain and deworming. The deworming tablets with composition pyrantel pamoate for humans, Nemocid tablet, come in pack of three for Rs 11. The same for pet dogs, Venkys Wormstop, comes in pack of two at Rs 90.

For treating bacterial infections, cephalaxin (500 mg) of 10 capsules costs Rs 131 viz a viz the one prescribed to dogs, Vetalexin Cephalexin, is sold at Rs 170 for a pack of seven.

To cure arthritis and hip dysplasia, joint protective supplement glucosamine is commonly prescribed to both dogs and humans. The medicine prescribed to humans is Lubrijoint (500mg) for 60 tablets is priced at Rs 313, while Petjoint supplement for dogs (60 tablets) is Rs 930. Doxycyline is yet another common antibiotic prescribed for stomach infections or any bacterial infections. For humans, 10 Doxylab capsules cost Rs 44, while 10 Savavet Doxypet tablets cost Rs 76.

“It is a Rs 30-billion pet industry market. There are 30-35 pet shops in Coimbatore and approximately 1,000 pets sold every month who would need vaccination and medication. There is only a monopoly of a few companies in manufacturing pet medication. Sometimes there is no MRP on the medicines. It is a huge market and lacks the needed regulation,”, says Coimbatore Pets owner Deepak Nair.

According to experts, monitoring veterinary medicines is a challenging and laborious task. Drugs have to be observed for their short and long-term effects on animals and the impact on the environment. It becomes more important when these animals are further used for producing food. As a result, the need to monitor adverse reactions becomes all the more imperative. Institutes involved in animal research and veterinary hospitals can be considered as ADR monitoring centres to assess the safety of medicines, they say.

Human and veterinary medicines in India are regulated by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation. “It is a humongous industry with complexities of many folds and a small division at the CDSCO with limited manpower cannot tackle everything and are inadequate in handling the regulatory challenges,” says an expert.

Animal health experts and researchers have been making a pitch for a separate regulatory agency and an effective pharmacovigilance programme. However, the requests remain as they are. Regulators banned various drugs seeing the adverse effects of the medicines on animals and environment. There is no robust system to monitor vaccines and drugs for pets.

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