Justia Animal / Dog Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Drugs & Biotech
Vanzant v. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.
Plaintiffs own cats with health problems. Their veterinarians prescribed Hill’s cat food. They purchased this higher-priced cat food from PetSmart stores using their veterinarian’s prescriptions before learning that the Prescription Diet cat food is not materially different from non-prescription cat food and no prescription is necessary. Plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The district judge dismissed the claim as lacking the specificity required for a fraud claim and barred by a statutory safe harbor for conduct specifically authorized by a regulatory body (the FDA). The Seventh Circuit reversed. The safe-harbor provision does not apply. Under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. 301, pet food intended to treat or prevent disease and marketed as such is considered a drug and requires FDA approval. Without FDA approval, the manufacturer may not sell it in interstate commerce and the product is deemed adulterated and misbranded. FDA guidance recognizes that most pet-food products in this category do not have the required approval and states that it is less likely to initiate an enforcement action if consumers purchase the food through or under the direction of a veterinarian (among other factors). The guidance does not specifically authorize the conduct alleged here, so the safe harbor does not apply. Plaintiffs pleaded the fraud claim with the particularity required by FRCP 9(b). View "Vanzant v. Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc." on Justia Law
Merial, Ltd. v. Cipla, Ltd.
The patents involve topical compositions for protecting pets from fleas and ticks. The 940 patent, now expired, claimed fipronil for pest control by direct toxicity. Merial, as exclusive licensee, developed compositions sold as Frontline. Merial also devised compositions, covered by the 329 patent, combining fipronil with an insect growth regulator, sold as Frontline Plus, the leading flea and tick treatment. In 2007 Merial sued Cipla and other internet retailers, alleging infringement. No defendant responded. The district court found that the patents were not invalid, that Cipla had infringed each patent, and entered a permanent injunction barring Cipla from directly or indirectly infringing the patents. In 2008 Cipla filed an informal communication, not intended to constitute an appearance, denying infringing or having any presence in the U.S., and requesting dismissal. The district court entered final judgment. Velcera, led by former Merial executives, engaged with Cipla to develop, test, manufacture, and distribute products to compete with Merial. Both Velcera and Cipla entered into development and supply agreements with various companies. In 2011, they began selling PetArmor Plus. The district court held Velcera and Cipla in contempt. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to jurisdiction and to the contempt order’s application to Velcera. View "Merial, Ltd. v. Cipla, Ltd." on Justia Law