FIP Drugs In Canada. U.S. Continues to Lag Behind
When it comes to treatment for feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), Canada has moved out in front of the U.S.
At a 2019 at a Winn Feline Foundation (now called EveryCat Health Foundation) Symposia at the University of California, Davis the categorization of FIP shifted from fatal to treatable, based on antiviral treatments with funding from the non-profit (now called) EveryCat Health Foundation and led by Dr. Niels Pedersen, now professor emeritus at UC Davis.
However, then and through today – unlike countries including South Africa, Australia and the UK – the U.S. FDA still has yet to approve a treatment for FIP.
Remdesivir, it’s close relative GS-441524, and, to a lesser degree, Molnupiravir, are all `highly effective drugs for FIP.
Remdesivir was approved for use in people with sudden acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). This drug, from the U.S. pharma company Gilead, was proven in studies to treat cats with FIP. Knowing this, desperate human researchers tried it out on the human coronavirus (as FIP occurs in conjunction with the feline coronavirus). It turned out Remdesivir was an effective to somewhat effective treatment for COVID-19. This huge victory in the battle against COVID-19 occurred only because of the cat studies led by Dr. Pedersen. Remdesivir has now treated thousands around the globe with COVID-19.
While U.S. and Canadian cat parents have been reliant on black market drugs from China to treat kitties with COVID, Canada has taken a step forward, according to Dr. Scott Weese Worms and Germs blog.
The two licensed human drugs (Remsidivir and Molnupiravir) are technically able to be imported from their manufacturers via an Emergency Drug Release (EDR) but the manufacturers have not allowed that.
So, desperate kitty parents have had to resort to the black market or their kitty dies – that’s been a U.S. and Canadian frustrating and rather tragic reality.
Now, working with Health Canada’s Veterinary Drug Directorate, approval to import legally compounded versions of those drugs from the UK. Vets must request permission to import the drug via an EDR every time they want to use it, so it has some logistical hassles. Also, the drug remains pricey, but it’s probably cheaper that the black market, and there’s now legal veterinary oversite (compared to the black market). In fact, that veterinary oversite is required.
This is at least a step in the right direction for Canadian citizens, but U.S. citizens can’t legally get product shipped to them – even from Canada – at least not yet.
Anivive Lifesciences has been seeking U.S. approval for over two years now, and the wait continues without reasonable explanation, forcing kitties in the U.S. to die or cat parents in the know to purchase through the black market from China. It’s one thing for the FDA Center for Veterinarian to be cautious but this laborious process has gone way beyond reasonable when worldwide, the class of drug to treat FIP is well-known by scientists and is well-documented to treat without significant side-effect, besides without treat the “side-effect” for FIP is death.