June 27, 2007 The pharmaceutical industry is going to the dogs -- and the cats -- as people in the United States and other countries devote more income to keeping beloved pets healthy and comfortable, according to a recent article. U. S. pet owners alone spent $18.5 billion last year on veterinary care, medications, and other non-food supplies, a figure expected to grow by more than 6 percent annually.
Written by C&EN associate editor Rachel A. Petkewich, the article describes how global pharmaceutical companies, best known for making medicines for humans, have animal health divisions that are devoting more effort to discovering and developing new kinds of medications for companion animals.
That research already has yielded a bounty of new medicines and vaccines to keep Fido and Fluffy healthy and comfortable. Petkewich cites, for instance, the first diet drugs for dogs; the first approved drug for vomiting in dogs, including vomiting due to motion sickness or cancer chemotherapy; and a new medication for the barking and other undesirable behavior of separation anxiety, which can occur when dogs are left home alone.
Just as drug companies are shifting some human health focus to geriatric medications, their animal health divisions are working on products to treat cancer, heart disease and other age-related conditions in companion animals. People also may benefit from the increase in research on animal health, with products originally developed for animals being repurposed for diseases in humans, Petkewich notes.
The article, "Big Pharma Chases Dogs and Cats: Products developed for companion animals boost bottom line and also may benefit human health too," is scheduled for the June 25 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.
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