House Clears Veterinary Medicine Measure

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House Clears Veterinary Medicine Measure

The act would amend the CSA to allow licensed veterinarians who operate mobile clinics or who treat horses on farms and elsewhere to lawfully transport to and dispense controlled substances at treatment sites.

Photo: The Horse Staff

A measure that allows veterinarians to legally carry controlled substances to farm call sites has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Passed by Congress in 1970, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is intended to prevent the unauthorized manufacture, sale, and transport of drugs that are most likely to be abused. Under the original law, veterinarians who carry drugs to in mobile veterinary units could be found in violation of the act.

Last year, congressmen Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) and Ted Yoho (R-Florida) introduced HR 1528 also known as the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which would amend the CSA to allow licensed veterinarians who operate mobile clinics or who treat horses on farms and elsewhere to lawfully transport to and dispense controlled substances at treatment sites.

A twin bill, S 1171, introduced by senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), was passed by the full Senate in January.

On July 8 members of the House passed HR 1528 by a voice vote, Yoho said. The measure relieves veterinarians of exposure to federal prosecution under the CSA, he said.

Clark Fobian, DVM, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA, said the legislation helps to ensure animals get the veterinary care they need without leaving their home pastures or barns.

“Congress made it clear that veterinarians are responsible public servants who must be able to use vital medications to treat their patients - no matter the location - so that they receive the best quality care,” Fobian said. “We applaud our elected officials for clarifying federal statute, which has left veterinarians confused and concerned over the past year.”

Jeff Blea, DVM, president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, said the bill's passage is critical to horses.

“Our ability as doctors of veterinary medicine to continue to care for horses on farm calls or at event locations was dependent upon passage of this bill,” Blea said. “This nonpartisan bill is good for everyone, most especially the horse and all species who depend on veterinary care.”

Despite its passage, the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will not immediately become law, said AVMA spokeswoman Victoria Broehm. Normally, a bill passed by both congressional houses would immediately be forwarded to the president for his signature. But cecause both the House and Senate passed identical bills, the houses must choose one measure to send to the president's desk, Broehm said.

“In other words, the Senate either has to take up H.R. 1528 or the House has to take up S. 1171 so they are only sending one bill to the president,” Broehm said.

The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will become law pending President Barak Obama's signature.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a professional journalist who has covered horse industry and equestrian topics for a number of publications. Her background includes riding, showing, and training Saddlebred horses.

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