Pfizer stops sales of injectable opioids to veterinary market

August 15, 2018

Company points to manufacturing issues as cause of shortage in supply.

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Pfizer, a human biopharmaceutical company whose products are frequently used off-label by veterinarians, halted sales of injectable opioids to the veterinary market in the second quarter of 2018, a company spokesman says. It is instead prioritizing the drugs to human hospital and surgical customers.

"Pfizer Injectables has been experiencing a production delay in the manufacturing of opioid products. Pfizer has temporarily halted sales and shipments of opioids to animal/veterinarian clinics during this time of shortage," says Steve Danehy, director of corporate affairs and global media relations for Pfizer. "We value all customers and understand the importance of these medications and regret the current need to prioritize shipments to hospital and surgical trading partners."

Danehy says the company is making efforts to restock the market in ways that are equitable, efficient and compliant, and though production of their opioid has resumed, it doesn't expect to fully recover and resume selling to the full market until the second quarter of 2019.

The FDA is aware of the manufacturing issues that Pfizer is experiencing and has been working with other companies that make agency-approved injectable opioid medications to increase their production and ease the shortage, according to an FDA statement, though it will still take time for their supply to cover the shortage in the market. Those companies are Akorn Pharmaceuticals, Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals.