ATLANTA – Four law firms have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers who allegedly were overcharged by manufacturers and retailers of “prescription” pet food.
Manufacturers named in the lawsuit are Mars Petcare US Inc.; Nestle Purina Petcare Co., and Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc.; and retailers named in the complaint include PetSmart Inc., Medical Management International Inc. — which operates Banfield Pet Hospitals— and BluePearl Vet LLC.
The complaint alleges that pet food manufacturers and retailers have deceptively marketed certain brands of pet food as requiring a prescription. Prescription pet food is dog and cat food that is sold to the consumer with a prescription from a veterinarian. The brands in question are Hill’s Prescription Diet; Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets; Royal Canin Veterinary Diet and Iams Veterinary Formula.
The lawsuit further alleges that the companies named in the complaint colluded to create a market for prescription pet food and to sell the products at prices higher than regular food even though:
- There is no legal mandate for prescription from the US Food and Drug Administration, which regulates pet food safety;
- There are no drugs or medicines in prescription pet food; and
- There is no significant difference between pet food sold by prescription and regular pet food sold without a prescription — other than a significant price difference.
The lawsuit was filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages, restitution, injunctive relief and all other relief deemed appropriate by the court.
Read the full complaint here.