A word about generic herbicides, perhaps they are a mistake

For the past few years, our aquatic industry has faced an issue where generic producers move to exploit the loss of patents and produce generic aquatic herbicides. Initially, the pricing looks good. When generic herbicides gain market share in a industry as small as aquatics, manufacturers have to make the decision to cut support and research costs that are often necessary to insure these products work to compete solely on cost.

At this point however it looks like the chickens are coming home to roost. Rodeo by Monsanto was the first of these aquatic herbicides to go generic. For the past few years, people have been paying much less for this product then they used to. Now as we enter the summer of 2008, we find that we can’t buy this herbicide from some suppliers and the price is going through the roof for those that still have some available.

There is a significant shortage of glyphosate worldwide at this point as we enter the summer of 2008 because of the failure of generic manufacturers that people came to rely on. With the aquatic market for glyphosate being so small compared to the other uses of this material, it is hard to believe they will take care of us with the material that is produced over key markets like agriculture.

Glyphosate has been a key product to control Purple Loosestrife, noxious water lilies and water primrose. These species are a major problem in western waters and without the availability of an aquatic formulation of Glyphosate and with the dramatic price increases based on market problems, we should rethink our use of these materials.

Below is a story about how the failure of one Chinese company has caused this problem in our marketplace.

http://www.ilfb.org/viewdocument.asp?did=14796&r=0.9381525

There are a number of other aquatic herbicide entries from China in the aquatic marketplace including Triclopyr and Fluridone under new trade names. If these generics succeed in taking market share away from those companies that brought these products to market, those of us in the aquatic weed control business could easily be facing the same situation in the next few years with these products if they gain market share.  When the producers fail or change their mind about making it, then we don’t have the tools we need to work. 

In addition, we are now seeing almost daily news stories about lead in toothpaste, pharmaceuticals recalled because of contamination, dog food that poisons dogs that eat it and childrens toys that are contaminated.  Quality control in manufacturing over products that we are putting in our water is a critical component of the safety that is built into EPA’s registration process.  That should also be factored into decisions made on the products used. 

Aquatechnex will focus on delivering quality products from reputable manufacturers that support our marketplace and we hope to never see similar impacts on the aquatic marketplace.

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