Apoquel Shortage Should End by April 2015

Zoetis apologizes for its inability to keep up with demand for a new anti-itch drug but says manufacturing improvements are underway.

By | Posted: August 8, 2014, 8 a.m. PST

Dog owners desperate to put their pets on the new anti-itch drug Apoquel will have to wait nine more months as the manufacturer ramps up production.




Zoetis Inc. of Florham Park, N.J., had expected the Apoquel shortage to last until mid-2015, but the company recently reported that the distribution clampdown should loosen sooner, by April 2015.

Apoquel (oclacitinib tablet) received an enthusiastic response from dog owners and veterinarians after the drug hit the U.S. market Jan. 20.

Often effective within 24 hours of initial use, the prescription-only drug is indicated for the control of itching associated with allergic dermatitis and the control of clinical manifestations of atopic dermatitis. The tablets, which work by blocking a dog’s urge to scratch, are given twice a day for the first two weeks and daily thereafter.

The drug’s success combined with growing demand and a complicated manufacturing process quickly left Apoquel in short supply. Zoetis responded by giving priority to pets already on the drug and by rejecting new orders from veterinarians.

In some cases, veterinarians who were able to get Apoquel were suddenly cut off.

Steven Leder, senior vice president of Zoetis’ U.S. Companion Animal Division, said the company is working to reduce the tablets’ manufacturing time and add production capacity.

"By April 2015 we expect to significantly increase the supply of Apoquel, and as result, we will be able to begin offering Apoquel to new customers,” he says. "Until that time, veterinarians who are currently receiving product will continue to receive Apoquel at current limited supply amounts.”

The shortage has frustrated and angered dog owners who see Apoquel as the solution to the scratching and inflammation associated with allergic skin disease.

"Please, please help my Emma,” one owner wrote on the Veterinary Practice News website in response to a May story about the shortage. "She is a 9-year-old Cocker Spaniel who needs this badly. My vet can’t get her hands on it, and the medicine she is taking is not working.”

Dozens of dog owners expressed similar sentiments.

A French Mastiff owner who was able to buy Apoquel for a short time described it as a miracle drug that allowed her "bald, scabby and sore” dog to heal and return to the show ring.

"The Apoquel ran out five days ago and I can see hives, spots and itching starting to rear its ugly head again,” Louise laments.

Another owner criticized Zoetis as "very, very cruel.”

"Please, God, let another pharma company come up with a similar formula and leave Zoetis with its new stock,” Stef wrires.

Leder acknowledges that the shortage has both irritated dog owners and denied relief to their pets.

"I apologize for the frustration and disappointment this situation is causing you and the discomfort to dogs that need the product but cannot access Apoquel,” he states.

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Carol   Cleveland, Ohio

10/2/2015 2:40:35 PM

Ok it's past mid 2015 and Apoquel is still scarce.

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Lee Young   Seminole, FL

6/18/2015 10:32:19 PM

I had a rather heated conversation with Alyssa at Zoetisus regarding their product Apoquel. I had been placed on a waiting list in Feb 2014, and finally over 1 year later, May 15, was able to obtain Apoquel for my dog, Chin Chin. Only to be informed by my veterinarian that they could not guarantee that I could continue it use, and was on re prescribed 12 tablets today. I bought and paid for a web page on Facebook, Consumers against Zoetisus today, and 2 hours later was informed by Zoetisus they had removed my web page, due to, "federal regulations".

These bait and switch techniques used by Zoetitus are an abomination. I am sure the employees there do not face these issues, and I have let them know I will be contacting every friend, and ask them to go to their veterinarian, dog groomer, and pet supply companies, to inform them of their displeasure of this company Zoetitus
And by the way they have never offered me proof of any "federal regulation", they hide behind.

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Netty   Cohuna, International

4/2/2015 9:13:09 PM

Try being a vet in Australia - no Apoquel here!!! None at all so far...who knows when it will become available for us

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robertshaffer   San Fernando, CA

9/25/2014 7:03:25 AM

The loser is the dog and the winner is Zoetis. Because of the limited availability, the price has went from $1.00 a pill to $2.50. Let's gouge us while you can. If I find some other medication, I will drop you like a Hot Potato!!!!!!!

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