Shortage of Apoquel, new veterinary pruritus drug, to continue until 2015
An unanticipated demand for Zoetis’ Apoquel (oclacitinib), a tablet used for the treatment of acute and chronic canine pruritus, continues to outpace supply, company representatives say. The drug was launched Jan. 20, and the volume of orders received put it in short supply almost instantly.
Senior Vice President of Zoetis' U.S. Companion Animal Division Steven Leder says in a July 8 letter to customers that the company expects to significantly increase the supply of Apoquel by April 2015, creating opportunity for new customers. "Manufacturing Apoquel is a complex and lengthy process. It comprises multiple processes, involves several manufacturing sites and requires regulatory approvals and oversight from countries around the world," Leder says in the letter. "We are working to normalize the supply of Apoquel by reducing the length of time it takes to manufacture Apoquel and by adding manufacturing capacity."
For those veterinarians and patients who have begun treatment plans with Apoquel, Zoetis has implemented a U.S. allocation protocol in an effort to provide the drug without interruption to existing customers. That means Zoetis is not taking orders from new customers but funneling its limited supply to existing customers. As stated by Leder, that may change by April next year.
"Our first priority is to ensure that dogs currently being treated with Apoquel can continue to receive the product without interruption until we can normalize the product supply," Leder says. "But, our overall goal is to make Apoquel available to meet all of your needs as soon as possible."
Leder concluded his message to customers by promising Apoquel supply updates at apoquel.com. "Not meeting your needs is deeply disappointing to all of us, and we sincerely regret the difficulty this situation is causing you and the dogs that need Apoquel," he says.
Apoquel's active ingredient, oclacitinib is a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor that decreases inflammatory mediators as well as cytokines that cause pruritus. Initial studies have shown that it is well tolerated, results in a rapid reduction in pruritus, and alleviates lesions in dogs with atopic dermatitis. For more information on Apoquel, go to zoetisus.com.