The Global Scenario of Human Drugs for Veterinary Use

The global human drugs for veterinary use market are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.62% to reach a market size worth US$3.973 billion by 2027. This market was valued at US$3.097 billion in 2020.

Human-labeled pharmaceutical drugs that are often prescribed in veterinary medicine, include the pain relievers pregabalin and gabapentin, as well as ketamine, hydrocodone, morphine, buprenorphine, and others.

Veterinary healthcare practitioners prescribe medications to treat injuries and diseases in animals suffering from a variety of health issues. These pharmaceuticals serve as preventive medications for the spread of infectious diseases in animals.

Furthermore, Congress passed legislation in 1994 that allows veterinarians to prescribe approved human and animal drugs for off-label uses in animals in some circumstances. Additionally, under certain conditions, the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act allows veterinarians to prescribe off-label uses of certain approved animal drugs and approved human drugs for animals.

The market for animal healthcare is expanding rapidly as pet ownership and awareness of animal healthcare products grows around the world. As a result, several human drugs are available in pharmaceuticals that can also be used on pets.

The global rise in pet adoption rate will boost the market for human drugs for veterinary use

During the coronavirus outbreak, 23 million American families got a new pet. Americans spent $42 billion on pet food and treat in 2020, according to the American Pet Products Association, and are further spent an estimated $44 billion in 2021. Therefore, the number of animals suffering from various diseases has increased significantly as the adoption rate of pets has increased.

  • Cushing disease, also known as pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism, is caused by adenomatous enlargement of the pituitary gland, which results in excessive ACTH production. Mitotane, a human-labeled drug, is used to treat this disease. Ketoconazole, another human-approved drug, is also used in the treatment of PDH in dogs. This medication is an antifungal that also suppresses steroid production and may be better tolerated in certain dogs than mitotane.


  • The most common condition is animal shedding and skin infections due to underlying viruses and bacteria. Therefore, orbifloxacin is a human medicine that is also used in dogs and cats to treat various infections, including those caused by pseudomonas. Because orbifloxacin is also active against Staphylococci, it is widely used to treat skin infections.


  • Prozac is an antidepressant used for both humans and pets. Fluoxetine is the drug name that is used to treat several behavioral issues in dogs and cats. The FDA-approved version for dogs is indicated for the treatment of separation anxiety.

 As a result, some human medications, such as Pepcid AC, Claritin, Tagamet HB, Benadryl, Aspirin, and others, can help treat conjunctivitis, itches and hives, skin illnesses, fungal infections, and other conditions in dogs and cats.

Healthcare investments and other innovative key developments in the market

A noticeable increase in the number of firms engaging in the animal healthcare sector has occurred. This will cause the market to develop even higher in the anticipated years. For example, in 2021, a consortium led by private equity company Multiples Alternate Asset Management agreed to pay $397 million for an animal health business from a fully owned entity of Cadila Healthcare Ltd.

Various pharmaceutical corporations have also made substantial investments and initiatives in animal healthcare in India which has led the market to rise. For example, Fujifilm India Pvt Ltd, a pioneer in medical imaging and diagnostic technology, came into a partnership arrangement with A’alda Vet India Pvt Ltd in 2021 to improve pet healthcare services. As part of the collaboration, Fujifilm India delivered advanced medical and screening instruments to DCC (Dogs, Cats & Companions) Animal Hospital, an A’alda Vet initiative to improve veterinary care standards in India. Furthermore, Aurobindo Pharma paid $56 million for a majority stake in generic veterinary pharma manufacturer Cronus Pharma Specialties India during the same year.

In addition, the number of dogs and cats adopted in North America has increased. As a result, corporations in this region have undertaken finance and investment projects. For example, in 2022, Easyvet, a rapidly expanding limited-service veterinary clinic franchise based in the United States, announced the completion of a $5 million Series A-1 funding round led solely by UNAVETS, an animal healthcare investment portfolio backed by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.

According to analysts, the North American region is expected to occupy the dominant share of the market in the upcoming years. 

Pet health insurance premiums in the United States increased from US$1.56 billion in 2019 to US$1.99 billion in 2020, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Furthermore, from 2016 to 2020, this spending grew at a steady pace of 24.2% on average.

Companies in the United States had taken several initiatives for the betterment of the animal healthcare market. For instance, Merck Animal Health, a company of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, announced a $100 million investment in facility expansion and upgrade operations at its DeSoto, Kansas, production location in 2020. During the same year, a technical extension of the vaccine manufacturing plant was completed, and an additional $66 million investment was made to permit for future upgrade capabilities to be achieved in the following years. Due to investments like these the North American region is anticipated to hold a significant portion of this market in the future ahead.

COVID-19 Insights

The COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on veterinarians, who play a critical role in ensuring the safety of our food supply, protecting animal and public health, supporting biomedical research and development, and others. Therefore, the market for animal healthcare witnessed a slowdown during the lockdown period.