USA- A United States District Court judge has greenlit a class action lawsuit against Hill’s Pet Nutrition, responding to a group of concerned pet owners from Illinois who contest the necessity of a prescription for certain pet food formulations marketed by Hill’s. 

The case has gained momentum, with the plaintiffs arguing that Hill’s prescription diet pet food was not legally obligated to be sold only with a prescription, challenging the representations made by the company.

The plaintiffs initially raised their concerns against Hill’s and PetSmart, but the judge narrowed the complaint to focus solely on Hill’s.

The lawsuit alleges deceptive practices in the manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and sale of prescription diet pet food by Hill’s at prices higher than the market average. 

The key assertion is that the prescription diet pet food is not significantly different from non-prescription pet food and lacks medically necessary ingredients to justify its premium pricing. The plaintiffs argued that the prescription pet foods did not contain any ingredients that were not also found in non-prescription pet food.

Hill’s, according to the lawsuit, markets its prescription formulations as therapeutic products intended for use in disease treatment. They allegedly target veterinarians with marketing materials, leading to recommendations of Hill’s products to clients.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs claim that Hill’s prescription diet pet food was marketed without proper approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a new animal drug, potentially rendering it adulterated and misbranded under federal law.

Two of the plaintiffs, Vanzant and Nevius, shared their experiences with Hill’s Prescription Pet Food products in court documents. They detailed their purchases and the subsequent realization that the prescription diet pet food did not contain any medicine or medically necessary ingredients. 

The core of their argument lies in their belief that they wouldn’t have purchased these products if Hill’s hadn’t marketed and controlled the formulations as prescription diets.

Hill’s has contested these claims, arguing that the testimony of the plaintiffs does not fully support their theory of deception. The company stated that the ingredient lists on the packaging would have clarified the lack of medicine in the prescription diet pet food. 

However, the judge determined that this argument does not undermine the case put forth by the plaintiffs.

As the class action lawsuit gains traction, pet owners and animal advocates are watching closely to see how this legal battle unfolds and what potential implications it might have for the pet food industry.