February 2, 2017
Several major companies that sell “prescription” pet food have been hit with a class-action lawsuit that claims consumers were overcharged for four food brands: Hill’s Prescription Diet, Purina’s Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, Royal Canin’s Veterinary Diet; and Iams’ Veterinary Formula.
The defendant pet food manufacturers in the case are Mars Petcare US, Inc. , which sells prescription pet food under the brand names Royal Canin and Iams; Nestle Purina Petcare, Co. ; and Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc.
Additional defendants include PetSmart, Inc.; Medical Management International, Inc.; and BluePearl Vet, LLC. PetSmart is a major retail seller of prescription pet foods. Banfield Pet Hospital is the largest chain of veterinary clinics in the United States, and typically operates out of PetSmart. BluePearl Vet Hospital is the largest chain of veterinary emergency care clinics in the United States. Pet food manufacturer Mars has a majority ownership stake in Banfield Pet Hospital and wholly owns BluePearl Vet Hospital.
The law firms Pope McGlamry, Ward and Smith, Walkup Melodia Kelly & Schoenberger and Gray Plant Mooty filed the lawsuit in December 2016.
According to a press release issued by Pop McGlamry:
“Prescription pet food is dog and cat food that is sold to the consumer with a prescription from a veterinarian. However, the prescription requirement comes from the manufacturers and sellers and is not mandated by federal or any other law. There is no legal mandate for a prescription from the FDA or any other government agency. Furthermore, there is no significant difference between pet food sold by prescription and regular pet food sold without a prescription, other than a significant price differential. There are no drugs or medicines in prescription pet food, and the FDA has made no assessments of these products.
“Counsel for the class members assert that pet food manufacturers, and their affiliates, have deceptively marketed this pet food as requiring a prescription, and have colluded to create a market for prescription pet food and to sell this food at prices higher than the prices of regular pet food.
“Consumers who have purchased any of these prescription pet foods over the past three years are urged to be part of this class action lawsuit to recover the money they overpaid, along with additional damages. ”
The lawsuit documents can be viewed as a PDF file here.