Medication Panel Agrees to Move Forward on Plan

Representatives from about 20 industry organizations unanimously endorsed a plan to develop a national medication policy during a teleconference Jan. 28. The action followed the first Racehorse Medication Summit, held Dec. 4, 2001, in Tucson, Ariz.

Participants authorized the creation of a veterinary advisory committee that will compile a list of medications regularly used to treat racehorses, and information on dosage, administration, and medical indications.

The group also authorized the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force to gather information and existing research on substances that may be considered "contaminants" in testing samples.

Jim Gallagher, executive director of the NTRA task force, said two advisory committees -- veterinarians and chemists--will complile information on medication use. The veterinarians will identify medications and their pharmacology, while the chemists will look at how drugs are detected. Gallagher said he expects there will be "an exchange between the two groups."

"The group agreed the (American Association of Equine Practitioners) would be delegated the responsibility to prepare the list of medications...that will be shared by the entire group," Gallagher said.

Members of the committees have not been selected, but Gallagher said the group was in "general agreement to at least gauge the interest" of Dr. George Maylin of Cornell University, and Dr. Rick Sams of Ohio State University. Maylin had input in the medication and drug-testing guidelines offered by the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association last December.

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association had requested that its advisor, Dr. Thomas Tobin of the University of Kentucky, participate in the national medication endeavor in some capacity. Gallagher indicated the group asked him to contact Tobin, who said would fit well on the veterinary advisory committee.

Gallagher also said the Jan. 29 teleconference participants agreed any national effort must include all breeds, and that it be "as regionally diverse as possible." The next meeting could be held in a month, he said.

About the Author

Tom LaMarra

Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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