What is Generic Frontline Plus?
Frontline Plus is the gold standard for flea and tick control for household pets – the fur bearing kind, that is. While it may the best known and trusted product, it is quite expensive, especially if there is more than one dog in the house. Generic versions, which claim to have the exact same active ingredients in the same proportions as the Frontline versions, are now available at much lower prices. The difference in price is as much as 50% less for generic formulations. As an added plus, generic flea and tick control are available over-the-counter (OTC) or by mail order on the internet. Frontline Plus may only be purchased through a veterinarian.
Why is Generic Frontline Plus Cheaper?
Manufacturers of generic Frontline Plus have lower costs than the brand name. The usual reason is that the patents on the proprietary brands have expired and the generic versions do not have to undergo the same level of rigorous testing. The theory is the brand name version has already been extensively tested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Makers of the generic version are now free to capitalize on research and marketing already done by the brand name manufacturers.
In fact, one such generic product, Pet Armor Plus has been ordered off the shelves by a US District Court. The initial recall prompted many blogs and websites to tout the product as unsafe. However, the actual reason is that Pet Armor Plus may infringe on patents owned by Merial, the manufacturers of Frontline Plus. Pet Armor Plus is made in India by a company called Cipla, who is appealing the ruling.
Sergeants, the manufacturers of FiproGuard Plus and Pronyl OTC; is also involved in patent disputes with Merial.
Some vets have voiced concerns that the inert fillers in generic products may be the real cause for concern. Inert substances make up as much as 90% of Frontline Plus and its’ generic versions. In many cases the inert substances are not listed on the labels and their exact make up is unknown. These inert substances may help to regulate the release of the active ingredients into the pet’s body; controlling the rate and amount of active ingredients released. There is speculation that these unknown chemicals may react with the active ingredients causing harm. As yet, the long term effects of this possibility have not been fully tested.
Whether purchasing a generic version or Frontline Plus, consumers should keep in mind that all dosages are sold pre-packaged and calculated by the dogs’ weight. It is unwise, to split the dosage for a larger dog for use on a smaller one. The release rates and amounts may not be the same. A cost-conscious, well-meaning consumer may inadvertently poison the pet.
There is an old English adage, “Never buy a pig in a poke”, which, loosely transcribed into current terms means “don’t be deceived by the packaging – examine your purchase before exchanging your hard earned cash.