FDA: Horses Will No Longer Bear The Brunt Of Opioid Shortage

by | 12.20.2018 | 12:12pm

The United States Food and Drug Administration (USDA) is working with Pfizer Inc. to mitigate the shortage of injectable opioids used to control pain in animals. The organization is working to allow a limited amount of opioids labeled for human use to be available to veterinarians.

Veterinarians use opioids made for humans in horses, which is considered extra-label use. The shortage of injectable human opioids has affected the availability of opioids to vets, as well. The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) became aware of the shortage in September of 2018 when veterinarians were no longer able to obtain the drugs through Pfizer.

CVM met with Pfizer to lobby for the veterinary community's need for injectable opioids as pain killers and begin the conversation of how a limited supply could be imported and made available to vets in the U.S. Because of these conversations, Pfizer has made Hydromorphone Hydrochloride Injection and a Morphine Sulfate Injection available to vets to alleviate animal pain. Both of these products are in short supply.

By making these products available to veterinarians, Pfizer is helping vets manage pain and minimize suffering in their equine patients. Veterinarians can purchase these medications through their normal distribution channels. Pfizer expects the opioid shortage to end in early 2019; these pain control measures will remain available to veterinarians until the shortage is over.

Read more at the FDA website.

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