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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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Minor Use/Minor Species

MUMS aren’t just fall flowers.  MUMS also stands for minor use/minor species.

What are minor species?

  • All animals are minor species except horses, dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, turkeys, and chickens.  Those seven are major species.
  • Some minor species are important in farming like sheep, goats, catfish, gamebirds (like pheasants), llamas, bison, and honey bees.
  • Other minor species are zoo animals, ornamental fish (like fancy goldfish and Koi), parrots, ferrets, guinea pigs, and other small pets.
     

What is a minor use?

  • Minor use refers to when drugs are used to treat one of the major species (horses, dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, turkeys and chickens) for a disease that is rare.
  • A disease can be rare because it occurs only in certain areas of the country, or because it affects only a small number of animals each year.

Why was there a law needed to help MUMS?

  • When a drug company wants to sell a drug, it needs to prove to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the drug is safe and that it works.
  • It is very expensive to develop and put an FDA-approved drug on the market for sale. 
  • Drug companies often can’t afford to develop new drugs for minor uses or minor species because enough people won’t buy the drug to pay for their expenses. For example, a company won’t sell a lot of drugs for sick pheasants because there aren’t a lot of pheasants raised on farms in the U.S.  While on the other hand, billions of chickens are raised in the U.S. and a company can make a lot of money selling drugs for chickens.
  • So Congress passed a law called the Minor Use and Minor Species Act of 2004 to help make it less expensive to get these drugs approved for minor uses and minor species. 
  • The law was passed to encourage drug companies to develop more drugs for diseases of minor species like fish and honey bees and for minor uses like dogs with cancer.

What is FDA doing?

  • In the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, there is an Office of Minor Use and Minor Species (OMUMS) and an Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation (ONADE).
  • When a drug company sends CVM information about a drug for a minor use or a minor species, OMUMS and ONADE look at the information to make sure the drug is safe and effective.
  • OMUMS and ONADE work with drug companies to help figure out the best ways to make safe and effective drugs available for minor uses and minor species.
  • We work together to make sure safe and effective drugs are available for all animals.