We invest millions of dollars each year in the research and development of novel animal health products and the continued investigation of existing products.
As with our human health pharmaceuticals and vaccines, we test our investigative animal health medicines and vaccines vigorously for safety, quality and efficacy before submitting them for approval after thorough review by independent regulatory authorities.
The authorization standards for veterinary medicines are at the same level as those for human medicines. On average, it takes five to twelve years to bring a veterinary product to market. A science-based, predictable regulatory environment is one of the key conditions necessary for innovation and for providing our customers with high-quality products. We support global harmonization of the regulatory process for veterinary medicines through participation in and dialogue with the International Cooperation on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Veterinary Medicinal Products (VICH) and the Codex Alimentarius.
On average, it takes 5 to 12 years to bring a veterinary product to market.
The approval process for medicines and vaccines used in farm animals also establishes withdrawal periods, from the time the last dose of product is given until the animals or their products enter the food chain. These withdrawal periods ensure the safety of human consumption of meat, milk and eggs from medicine- and vaccine-treated animals.
Our submissions to regulatory agencies also include an environmental assessment that appraises the effects of the use of our products on flora, fauna, soil and water. When necessary, restrictions are placed on the use of our products to protect the environment.
Once a product is on the market, we monitor all aspects that could affect product safety. Findings are assessed and reported, as appropriate, to regulatory authorities and addressed through appropriate measures.
Structured Herd Health Management
The most effective means of preventing the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance is to reduce the need for antimicrobial treatment. The key is disease prevention, which can be aided by vaccination. In a number of countries, we support veterinarians with our ResCalf and ResPig programs to develop a structured approach to improving lung health and preventing bovine respiratory disease in calves and respiratory diseases in pigs. Respiratory disease can seriously affect the health of cattle and pigs and lead to economic losses. With monitoring and high-quality technical support and advice, combined with vaccination, early in 2014 we introduced Once PMH® IN in the U.S., the only intranasal vaccine to deliver dual bacterial pneumonia protection in healthy beef and dairy cattle, including calves as young as 1 week old. We also received approval for PORCILIS® PCV M Hyo vaccine, the first ready-to-use single-injection combination vaccine to protect piglets against porcine circovirus and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae infections during the fattening period. By bringing vaccines like these to the market, we help to control these disease complexes and reduce the need to use antibiotics to treat sick animals.
Making a Difference in Wider Societal Needs
Our Animal Health business uses our experience, resources and science to help our partners keep animals healthy, ensure a sustainable food supply, protect public health, and help people and pets enjoy their lives together. We are committed to making a difference in the health and welfare of animals and in wider societal needs.
Access to Veterinary Expertise
Access to veterinary expertise and medicines significantly impacts the livelihoods of small landholders and their families.
Milk for Malawi—Through our partnership with Shire Highlands Milk Producers Association (SHMPA), our Animal Health business lends financial and in-kind support to Malawian dairy farmers to improve the quality and quantity of milk supplies. Early in 2015, a shipment of NILZAN® boluses arrived in Malawi shortly after the storm period, and was used by smallholders on their young stock. These boluses themselves are another piece of appropriate technology for smallholders, as they come in a very convenient form allowing for simple and accurate mixing with a calf’s feed. Producing plenty of calves is a high priority for smallholder farmers keeping only one or two cows. At the moment, the sale of a healthy, pregnant heifer can pay for a good house. The local dairy companies have been expanding their capacity threefold in the last decade. Last year, SHMPA producers saw their first price increase in nearly four years, and production immediately jumped.
Enhancing the poultry value chain in Ethiopia and Myanmar—In 2012, our global poultry business entered into a joint project with the Dutch consortium Holland Africa Poultry Partners (HAPP). This project was established to improve knowledge of poultry health and vaccines for the developing Ethiopian poultry industry. The project has gathered momentum over these years and came to its projected close in June 2015 with the official opening of the National Poultry Training Centre in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. Later in 2015, our global Poultry business unit continued its corporate responsibility activities by joining the public-private partnership Netherlands Myanmar Poultry Cooperation, to strengthen the poultry sector in Myanmar by transferring knowledge (e.g., providing training programs) and demonstrating best practices.
Joining forces for Bamboutos-Menoua Pig Holders—The Bamboutos-Menoua Smallholder Integrated Pig Project in Cameroon, under the coordination of Heifer International, aims to improve the livelihood of 1,500 resource-poor project participants, as well as their direct dependents, by helping them increase their income, improve gender relations, improve mobilization of group resources, and mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS in sustainable ways. Our Swine business supports the animal health–related components, among others, with veterinary medicines and expertise. In 2015, this five-year project reached its projected end. Following the completion of required training and the building of necessary housing facilities, more than 1,600 families received young pigs to start a farm. The benefit to the participating families has been substantial. Their average monthly income increased by 60 percent. Sales of pigs contributed significantly, and the use of the pig´s manure, together with better seed material and growing techniques, resulted in a threefold increase in the harvests of corn, peppers and beans. By the end of the project, 520 women held leadership roles (compared to 160 at the start); 90 out of 93 groups started saving money and cooperating with the other groups; and the targets to mitigate the economic effects of HIV/AIDS were achieved.