Pet Food and Veterinary Industry Collusion?
A class action lawsuit has recently been filed in U.S. District Court in northern California against Nestle Purina, Mars Petcare's Royal Canin and Iams Veterinary Formulas, Hill's Pet Nutrition, PetSmart, Banfield Veterinary Hospitals, and Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospitals, alleging they engaged in price fixing for prescription pet food in violation of U.S. anti-trust and consumer protection laws. Mars is an owner of both Banfield and Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospitals.
The case documents state that the American public reasonably expects a prescription requirement implies that a substance is medically necessary, contains a drug, medicine or controlled ingredient, has been FDA evaluated, and legally requires a prescription. The plaintiffs allege that the prescription pet foods do not meet these criteria. The plaintiffs state they would not pay the high price for food that is not substantially different from over-the-counter food products, except for the prescription requirement.
This lawsuit follows another order by the Federal Trade Commission against Mars PetCare for their unsubstantiated claims that feeding Eukanuba pet food would extend a dog's lifespan by thirty percent or more. Mars has been barred from making similar claims or using deceptive advertising in the future. Hopefully, this will play into the allegations regarding prescription diets, as well.
I have spoken out against prescription diets for the past decade. Many are unproven and untested for the label claims they state, even though the FDA allows this illegal practice to occur. They are made using cheap, inferior ingredients, with synthetic chemicals added to alter urine pH or make other changes within the body. The high prices would not be supported in the open pet food market without the requirement of a veterinary prescription and the support of the veterinary community. Some veterinary practices show prescription pet food sales amounting to twenty percent of their annual gross revenue. This is a huge market for veterinarians.
These pet foods should not be marketed as a drug, as they do not meet the legal requirements of a drug and have not been tested and proven to cure the diseases they claim. It's about time the American public caught on to this scheme and pushed back.
If you want to keep your pets healthy, feed them a species-appropriate diet, not a chemical-laden, preservative and sugar-filled product that contributes to chronic illness. I will continue to feed my pets food that I can identify with whole food ingredients and no synthetic chemicals.