Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK): Closing price $47.62
Merck’s decision to suspend sales of its Zilmax cattle feed additive has the unintended consequence of spawning a surge in demand for competitor Eli Lilly & Co.’s Optaflexx, which Lilly is advising some new customers that it cannot supply them for the time being, customers told Reuters.
Zilmax became the center of attention in the livestock industry in a very undesirable way after Tyson Foods Inc. said on August 7 that it will cease buying Zilmax-fed cattle for slaughter beginning in September. Tyson said it was worried that Zilmax could potentially cause health problems for some cattle. Optaflexx, sold by Lilly’s Elanco Animal Health and Zilmax are both part of a family of drugs known as beta-agonists, a class of non-hormone growth promoters that have been ruled safe for animals and humans by the FDA.