Price of beta-agonists expected to increase
by Bryan Salvage
GREENFIELD, Ind. – On Nov. 26, Eli Lilly & Co.'s Elanco Animal Health unit plans to increase the price of its beta-agonist feed supplements by 2 to 3 percent amid strong demand from beef feedlots, according to Reuters.
Applying to all of Eli Lilly's products for cattle, hogs and other food animals, the price increase is being implemented amid strong demand for its Optaflexx ractopamine-based feed additive for cattle. This additive helps enhance the meat on a beef carcass before slaughter.
The price increase is the result of a review of the company’s agricultural product pricing, market conditions and production costs that Elanco regularly conducts for all products, explained Colleen Parr Dekker, company spokesperson. However, the price increase will not apply to newer, non-betagonist products released in 2012 or this year.
Sales of Optaflexx, Elanco's cattle feed additive, in the US started increasing in late August following Merck & Co.’s announcement it planned to temporarily suspend sales of its Zilmax beta-agonist additive. Merck's announcement followed Tyson Foods’ announcement that it would stop buying Zilmax-fed cattle due to concerns the livestock drug was allegedly, potentially causing health problems for some cattle.
Elanco's price increase is not expected to have much of an impact on meat producers, nor demand for the drug-maker's beta-agonist feed products -- particularly among cattle feedlot owners, Reuters relayed. Meanwhile, retail beef prices remain at record highs as the nation's cattle herd is at the lowest level in more than 60 years.