FDA targets Chewy, other animal companies for selling unapproved antibiotics

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Major animal product retailer Chewy and eight other companies violated federal law by selling unapproved animal antibiotics, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) alleged Thursday.

The FDA said the retailers sold unapproved medications containing penicillin and amoxicillin, which could lead to the evolution of drug-resistant “superbugs.” The products in question were targeted at birds and fish, the FDA wrote in a letter to the companies.

Drug-resistant superbugs could then pose a risk to human health, argued Tracey Forfa, the FDA veterinary medicine director.

“Inappropriate use of medically important antimicrobials contributes to the development of antimicrobial resistance, which affects both human and animal health,” Forfa said in a statement Thursday.

Medications containing the antibiotics are only available via prescription. Impacted products include Aqua-Mox, Aqua-Zithro, Doxycycline and Fishbiotic.

Nine companies received warning letters: American Aquarium Products, Aquanest Biotic, Aquarium Pharmacy, California Veterinary Supply, Chewy Inc., Kraft Drug, Midland Veterinary Services, Silver Lease and Valley Veterinary Clinic.

The FDA requested the companies outline how they plan to address violations within 15 days, threatening further legal action.

“The FDA will continue to monitor the marketplace and take necessary steps to protect human and animal health against companies selling unapproved animal drugs that can put people and animals at risk,” the agency said.

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