Rick Goulart, a spokesman for Pfizer Animal Health, confirmed that a price has not been set. He said that the drug was currently available, but only through veterinary oncologists, who are attempting to figure out the best protocol for administering the drug. Because of this testing, the drug is provided to the oncologists without cost.
"The drug is made available to this specialist, who through the end of the year will be able to advance their experience with it," he said. "Veterinarians who now have access to the product are gaining experience with Palladia as they determine what protocols are right for bringing a pet owner in to get [a dog] treated for mast cell tumors."
Palladia will be available for sale through veterinarians in 2010.
Like other cancer drugs, Palladia has unpleasant side effects that can include impaired mobility, diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight loss. However, it differs from many conventional cancer therapies in pets.
"This is a therapy that has capitalized on decades of basic research to understand how cancer survives thin the body and how to beat it," said Ogilvie.
The drug attacks the tumors' communications systems and ability to spread through the body.
Perhaps its most important for pet owners is that it is an oral medication that can be administered at home.
"Most cancer therapies have to be administered by a high-technology system and oftentimes in the hospital," said Ogilvie. "This oral therapy removes our patients from the clinic and places them on the couch with their families and therefore allows their families to provide this therapy ... in [a] loving environment.
"It really adds the personal touch that our clients can provide in their home along with the greatest advancement in molecular therapeutics and veterinary medicine."