You may recall that I posted some time ago on the shortage of Immiticide, the only drug approved to treat dogs for heartworms disease (that is, to kill the adult heartworms). They were going to have it all fixed by the end of March.
Well, now, last week it was after "March 31st", which was when I had been told previously the shortage would be resolved. I called Merial, and the first layer of staff said, "Not yet; they said late March or early April." The "early April" was new to me. I asked to speak to someone who actually knows what's going on, and she bumped me up to the next tier in the hierarchy.That person gave me the same story. I said, "Look, I've been a good boy, and I haven't pretended my patients have clinical signs when they don't. I haven't tried to order product for dogs that are apparent lack of efficacy cases. I do have 12 people breathing down my neck wanting their dogs treated. It would help if I could just get a straight answer for them on what the problem actually is. Did you try to move the factory to Pakistan and the Taliban took it over, or what?"
I still didn't get a straight answer, but she asked how many dogs I had and what they weighed, and sold me enough Immiticide to treat them.
Of course, I've got four new dogs to treat since then that weren't on the original list.
If we can get every detail of Tiger Woods' indiscretions, can't we find out what is actually going on at Merial? And where is Osama bin Laden? Does HE have the Immiticide?
Well, here's the news from Veterinary Information Network today... finally:
Merial Statement on availability of IMMITICIDE® (melarsomine dihydrochloride)
Recently, Merial informed veterinarians that our heartworm treatment product, IMMITICIDE® (melarsomine dihydrochloride), was in limited supply because the active ingredient was no longer available from its manufacturer—the only US source of the compound.
Merial has now identified an alternative supplier for melarsomine—one that already produces it for the European and international markets. However, gaining US regulatory approval for the new manufacturer will take time. In the meanwhile, Merial has instituted a temporary measure to extend the supply of IMMITICIDE and continue to make it available to veterinarians.
Through a restricted distribution program initiated in agreement with the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), veterinarians who have an immediate need to treat a dog with heartworm disease will be able to purchase IMMITICIDE containing melarsomine manufactured by the alternate supplier. This product must be purchased directly through Merial. It will not be available through Merial’s distributors, nor will it be available for purchase to stock clinic inventories. Veterinarians who wish to purchase IMMITICIDE should call Merial Technical Solutions
Merial is continuing to work closely with FDA-CVM and the new melarsomine supplier to gain FDA approval for this alternate facility and return to full supply of IMMITICIDE as soon as possible.
Not that this helps me or my patients, much. I still don't feel like we have the full story. They sell this stuff like gangbusters. Why would the supplier of the raw ingredient shut down when they have a guaranteed market? I still think Osama bin Laden may be involved somehow.