Sanofi's Merial revives heartworm treatment

Spring ended with approval for a chewable treating ticks and fleas in May, followed by another edible drug in June for canine osteoarthritis. Now the market for dog meds is getting even bigger as Sanofi's ($SNY) Merial has just relaunched its heartworm tablet.

A spokesperson for Merial told FierceAnimalHealth in an email that while its Heartgard (ivermectin) drug has been off the market for a few years, the company "is bringing it back due to interest from veterinary customers for an effective heartworm preventive product for dogs with food allergies."

Heartgard protects dogs from heartworms for up to a month, and Merial markets it as a safe tablet for canines with food ingredient allergies. The company still has its Heartgard Plus product, a combo med that also treats roundworms and hookworms.

Heartgard hit shelves again on July 16. The relaunch comes soon after the FDA approved Merck's ($MRK) Bravecto in May--its tick and flea killer--and then Bayer's Quellin for pain in June. The Bravecto flavored tablet is approved to work up to 12 weeks while Merial's NexGard, a chewable approved by the FDA last year to prevent and kill fleas and ticks, works for up to a month.

Along with Heartgard, all of these products must be prescribed by a veterinarian.

Despite the fact that the drug was relaunched and prior received approval, Heartgard was not exempt from passing through the FDA again before hitting the market. "We [Merial] did follow the appropriate regulatory processes to manufacture the product again," the spokesperson said.

- here's the release