Despite economic conditions, Animal Health Institute member companies spent $671 million in 2008 to research and develop potential new products and to maintain the longevity of existing products, according to AHI's latest Research and Development Survey. The figure is nearly 5 percent below the 2007 level.

“From avian flu to H1N1, issues surrounding animals and public health have received increased attention over the last few years," says AHI president and CEO Alexander Mathews. "Investments in research and development are needed to meet the challenges in animal health and, by extension, to protect public health."

In a separate news release outlining AHI’s Market Sales Report, the institute notes that spending on animal health products declined slightly in 2008 to $6.7 billion. The three product categories for animal health products are biologics, which increased 2 percent, pharmaceuticals, with a sales decline of 1 percent and feed additives with a 12 percent decline in 2008 “Sales of animal health products were certainly affected by the economic downturn in the fourth quarter of last year,” Mathews says. “However, companies continued to bring new and innovative products to the market.” 

Mathews says the decline in research and development spending, the first observed in more than 10 years of collecting data, is the result of company consolidation within the industry. The largest percentage declines were in the diagnostics and feed additive categories.

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Source: AHI