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Human Cancer Risk Found in Pig Drug: FDA Withdraws Approval of Carbadox

Update Date: Apr 11, 2016 05:32 AM EDT

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is about to withdraw the approval given for Carbadox, a drug used to treat bacterial illness in pigs. The drug's approval is reportedly being revoked because of its potential cancer threats in the human population.

Carbadox, which is manufactured by a New Jersey-based Phibro Animal Health company, Teaneck, was used in the treatment of bacterial enteritis and dysentery in pigs. The drug approved for use in swine back in 1972 also promotes weight gain in the animal, according to Reuters.

According to FDA, the drug manufacturers haven't produced enough evidence to prove that the drug is safe, following the claims that Carbodox residues left in pork are carcinogenic to human. Carbadox is marketed by the name Mecadox by Phibro.

The company "has failed to provide sufficient scientific data to demonstrate the safety of this drug given evidence that Carbadox may result in carcinogenic residues," said Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, reported Argi Pulse.

Meanwhile, the drug manufacturers are certain that the product is safe and doesn't cause any harm to pork consumers. The company has also noted that there are no evidence so far pertaining to Mecadox residues in the meat when the drug is administered to pigs as per the recommended dosage.

"Mecadox is not used in human medicine and the class of drug is not considered a medically important antimicrobial," the company said. "The approved Mecadox label requires a 42-day withdrawal period pre-harvesting, and to date, we have not seen any hazardous residues of Carbadox being detected from pig meat treated in accordance with the approved label."

The safety of the drug is again being tested by the company with the help of new advanced technologies. The test is also focused on whether there are residues left in the tissues for a longer period of time than tested earlier. While the results are due in next 90 days the company is expecting positive evidence to support the safe use of Mecadox in future.

Dave Warner, a spokesman for the Pork Producers Council said that it is relying on the Animal Health Institute to take the lead on the issue while the council is reviewing the FDA's recommendation. Phibro has an option for 30 days request regarding the withdrawal of the drug and if the company doesn't want to avail it, the FDA is free to revoke approval for the drug, noted Fortune.

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