Packaged Facts: Pet drug sales to reach $6.7 billion in 2011

Vets remain top choice for consumers, but many choose brick-and-morter, online retailers

NEW YORK — While sales figures for pharmaceuticals are frequently reported on, drugs for people's four-legged friends also are a money maker.

According to Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, retail sales of pet medications — including sales through retail stores, online retailers and veterinarians — will reach $6.7 billion this year.

A new report from the firm, "Pet Medications in the U.S.," mass market channels are the least involved in pet medications among retailers. But online pharmacies, including those of Target and Walmart, have expanded their product range. Currently, according to the firm's May-June 2011 Pet Owner Survey, 71% of prescription-only heartworm medications and 40% of nonprescription flea and tick spot-ons continue to be sold through veterinarians, which for many years "have been in the catbird seat" in pet medication sales.

"The underpinnings of the U.S. pet industry remain strong, and the outlook is especially favorable for all things pet-related," Packaged Facts publisher David Sprinkle said.

In some ways, trends driving pet medications seem to mirror the ones driving human medications. "Taking into account market drivers including the aging pet population, pet obesity and the heavy involvement of major pharmaceuticals companies, pet medications sales should return to their pre-recession rates of growth over the next few years, with annual percentage gains projected at 10% by 2015."


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