Lawsuit Filed Against Prescription Pet Food Suppliers

A class-action lawsuit filed against several pet food suppliers claims that certain prescription dog foods do not contain any medicine or other ingredients that would require a prescription.
Kerry Lengyel
Published: March 29, 2017
Prescription dog food products contain medicine and other nutritional ingredients specifically formulated to help improve the quality of life of dogs. Or do they?

A class-action lawsuit claims that certain prescription dog foods do not contain any medicine or other ingredients that would require a prescription.
The lawsuit was filed last fall in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California under the leadership of Ward and Smith, PA, a North Carolina law firm with more than 35 practice groups across the country.

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The following pet food suppliers are mentioned in the lawsuit:
  • Mars Petcare US, Inc.
  • Royal Canin USA
  • Nestlé Purina Petcare Co.
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.
  • Petsmart Inc.
  • Banfield, The Pet Hospital (co-owned by Mars and PetSmart)
  • BluePearl Vet, LLC (owned by Mars)
Prescription dog foods mentioned in the lawsuit are Hill’s Prescription Diet, Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet, and Iams Veterinary Formula.
“In selling prescription pet food, defendants are taking advantage and betraying the trust of vulnerable pet owners concerned about the health of their pets and are preying on the known propensities of consumers to love their pets and trust their vets,” the suit states.
The suit claims that pet food companies use the word “prescription” to charge pet owners more money for these products. If consumers are not receiving what they bought, these companies can be in violation of federal antitrust law and various state consumer-protection laws.
“When you tell someone that a prescription is required, that means something to consumers,” said Lynwood Evans, a lawyer at Ward and Smith’s Greenville, North Carolina, office. “They believe it’s necessary for their pet’s health. They’re willing to pay the price difference between the non-prescription and the prescription food, when in reality there are no drugs in the food and they’re basically the same as the non-prescription food.”
The lawsuit makes several demands of the pet food companies involved:
  • Stop further deceptive distribution, marketing, and/or sales practices with respect to prescription pet food
  • Disgorge all or part of their ill-gotten profits for the benefit of the plaintiffs and class members
  • Award three-fold damages
  • Pay compensatory, statutory, exemplary, and punitive damages
  • Pay attorney fees
Those who have purchased these prescribed pet foods during the past 3 years may be eligible to join the lawsuit and should call 844-321-9425 for more information.

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