About Animal Medicines



Animal pharmaceuticals are primarily used to treat or prevent diseases or infections.  Just like humans, animals can be given vaccines to address some diseases and conditions, but vaccinations don’t cover everything.  Veterinarians diagnose and treat animals with pharmaceuticals in a broad range of categories, including anti-parasitic drugs, anti-inflammatory medications, anesthetics, pain medications, antibiotics, and specialized products for managing reproductive, cardiovascular, or metabolic conditions.

Animal pharmaceuticals come in a variety of forms to allow the owner or veterinarian to administer the needed medications, including pills, liquids, injections, powders, “drenches” (drenching the animal in a liquid form of the pharmaceutical), “feed additives” (putting it in their food), or “boluses” (a large pill designed for veterinary use).

Animal pharmaceuticals are regulated by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. The standards and processes for reviewing pharmaceuticals used for animals are the same in most respects as those used for reviewing pharmaceuticals intended for humans.

Bringing a new pharmaceutical to market is a time-consuming, expensive, and scientifically rigorous process.  Similar to medicines under review for use in humans, companies must demonstrate that the pharmaceutical is safe and effective in animals.  A 2015 study of the US domestic market by HealthforAnimals found that on average, when developing a new active ingredient, it takes 6.5 years and $22.5 million to bring a new companion animal pharmaceutical to market and 8.5 years and $30.5 million for a new pharmaceutical product for livestock. These are averages and costs of over $62 million. Overall development costs have increased by more than 50% since 2011.

For more information about animal antibiotic use and regulations, visit www.togetherABX.com.