Seresto flea collars could be banned after lawmakers grill the CEO

A photo of the CEO of Elanco, flea and tick collar makers Seresto, testifying to the US House

Jeff Simmons, CEO of Elanco, maker of the Seresto flea and tick collars, testifies to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy via Zoom June 15, 2022.
Print Screen: Oversight Committee / YouTube

Democrats in Congress warned Elanco CEO Jeff Simmons on Wednesday that his company’s product, the Seresto flea and tick collar, which has been linked to at least 98,000 adverse reaction incidents and More than 2,000 pet deaths in claims to the federal government can be banned if the company doesn’t recognize a problem. The screaming warning comes later Gizmodo published consumer complaints filed with the FTC about serious problems pet owners encountered after purchasing the collars or counterfeit versions, including horror stories of dogs even dying.

“I respectfully ask Elanco to voluntarily remove these necklaces at this time, pending this further investigation,” said Democratic Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. Elanco did not recall the collars.

The warning about the possible withdrawal of Seresto collars from the market was made at a hearing by the Chamber’s Economic and Consumer Policy subcommittee – a hearing available in full at Youtubeand chaired by Krishnamoorthi.

Krishnamoorthi is concerned that the EPA has long ignored consumer reports of deaths from dog owners who said they purchased the collar, despite internal agency emails showing serious concern about the sheer volume of adverse reactions – reactions that came to the fore. comes to light thanks to a shocking account of usa today in March 2021.

“It is unacceptable that the EPA has been aware of the Seresto collar safety concerns for years and continues to allow Americans to unknowingly put their pets in danger using a product they have been led to believe is safe,” Krishnamoorth said in a statement. . before the hearing.

Elanco CEO Jeff Simmons testified via Zoom, with an opening statement about how much his company loves animals.

“Our company and our people are dedicated to improving the health of animals,” said Simmons.

Simmons noted that the EPA and more than 80 regulatory bodies around the world have approved Seresto. And then Simmons got to the heart of the company’s defense.

“Adverse event reports are not intended to be, and in fact absolutely are not, proof of causality,” Simmons said. “The reports require further investigation and analysis to determine the cause.”

Simmons went on to say that his research team “has not identified a single death caused by the active ingredients in the necklace”.

But Representative Krishnamoorthi questioned how it could be that Simmons insists there is no evidence of a link between the collars and pet deaths when Canada found a link and banned the collars from being sold in the country.

“Originally, you said there is no scientific evidence… no evidence of a causal link. This is clear evidence,” Krishnamoorthi said, pointing to a graph showing the number of incidents investigated by Canadian regulators.

“It was so convincing that the Canadian equivalent of the EPA never allowed Seresto collars to be sold in Canada,” Krishnamoorthi continued.

Representative Katie Porter, a Southern California Democrat who is also on the subcommittee, asked Simmons about the fact that other countries like Australia and Colombia have big warnings on Seresto necklaces and “label them as poison.” Porter noted that the warning label in the US mentions possible side effects such as hair loss and injuries, but does not mention death.

“Madam, we do not believe that the scientific data justify a change of label,” replied Simmons.

The Rep. Porter also noted that the EPA encouraged Elanco, as well as Seresto’s previous owner, Bayer, to update the warning label. But Simmons disputed Porter’s claim, saying the EPA never formally asked for a change to the warning label.

“My concern here is that Seresto is on the path to allowing the EPA to collect the necessary data and make that decision. [about the safety of Elanco products]” said Rep. Porter. “I encourage Elanco to work with the EPA to get this data, and if they don’t get it, Seresto will have to go out of business.”

Dogs that died after using the Seresto collar for ticks and fleas are shown at a hearing in Washington, D.C. on June 15, 2022.

Dogs that died after using the Seresto collar for ticks and fleas are shown at a hearing in Washington, D.C. on June 15, 2022.
Print Screen: Youtube

Republicans tried to interrupt the hearing at the first opportunity, filing a motion to adjourn and saying that the hearing was not a priority for the American people. What is the highest priority, according to Republicans? Addiction to fentanyl, which one congressman attributed to drugs arriving from Mexico across the border.

Republicans also presented what is called a “minority witness” to Carrie Sheffield, of a right-wing group called the Independent Women’s Voice, who complained about how people on the subcommittee want to shell out the police on an irrelevant speech.

But distractions aside, Democrats seem determined to ensure that someone gets to the bottom of what is happening with these Seresto collars and the dogs that allegedly died wearing them.

“Of more than 30 million collars sold in the United States, Elanco saying that 12 pets may have possibly or probably died because of the collar – but not because of any of its active ingredients – doesn’t seem the least bit plausible. , said Krishnamoorthi.

Krishnamoorthi closed the hearing by asking the EPA to conduct a new investigation to see what is going on and even asked Elanco to voluntarily remove the collars.

“So here we are, and we have some decisions to make. And so, given the tremendous number of pet incidents, the tremendous number of deaths, even considering sales, I unfortunately have no choice but to recommend that the EPA initiate a notice of intent to cancel the lawsuit,” Krishnamoorthi said.

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