RMTC Board Approves Recommend Drug Thresholds

RMTC Board Approves Recommend Drug Thresholds

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board of directors voted to approve several important recommendations from its Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and Horseracing Testing Laboratories Committee at its Feb. 23 meeting at Gulfstream Park, in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

The board also received an encouraging report on the significant nationwide adoption progress of the National Uniform Medication Program, highlighted by the update that states which have implemented the Controlled Therapeutic Substances (CTS) list now represent more than 90% of the U.S. handle.

Board members unanimously approved SAC recommendations for revised thresholds based on recently completed research for three medications currently on the CTS list: the sedatives/analgesics xylazine and detomidine and the gastric ulcer medication omeprazole. Research on these substances was performed at the University of California, Davis; Kentucky Equine Research, and the University of Florida. The thresholds and withdrawal guidance for these substances can be found on the CTS list page of the RMTC website

“The CTS list is a living document, as evidenced by the addition of a number of medications since it was first enacted,” stated RMTC Executive Director Dionne Benson, DVM. “In this instance, the RMTC and its stakeholders, through the SAC process, revised three historic regulatory thresholds by funding and executing scientific research to ensure horsemen had the best information available to make decisions.”

In addition, RMTC board members voted unanimously to recommend to the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) an expanded and more comprehensive out-of-competition testing rule for horse racing. The recommended model rule addresses sampling procedures and defines what substances are included in a prohibited substance list, which is modeled on the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited Substances List and designed to take into account substances unique to horses’ health under specified conditions.

“The proposed model rule including the prohibited substance list will provide horse racing an out-of-competition program that is second to none in professional sports,” stated Benson. “By enacting this rule, we go beyond protecting against just blood doping agents to proactively protecting the health and welfare of the race horse everyday – not just on race day.”

The RMTC will present the revised threshold recommendations, out-of-competition model rule proposal, and prohibited substance list to the RCI and will advocate for their inclusion in the RCI model rules.

Additionally, chair Alex Waldrop updated the board on significant progress toward full adoption of the National Uniform Medication Program. He said:

  • The Controlled Therapeutic Substances list has now been adopted in 18 states representing more than 90% of total handle;
  • Third-party veterinarian administration of furosemide has been adopted in 17 states representing 65% of total handle;
  • The Multiple Medication Violations penalty system has been adopted in 12 states representing 35% of total handle; and
  • 28 states representing more than 75% of total handle are now receiving testing services from RMTC-accredited and soon-to-be accredited laboratories.

“We expect to see at least half the racing states fully adopt the National Uniform Medication Program by the end of the year,” said Waldrop. “We will get to a point soon where non-compliant states will be faced with the choice of either joining the program or risk being ostracized by racing fans and participants alike.”

In addition, the board:

  • Approved screening limit recommendations for various environmental contaminants to match environmental residue screening limits used in international horse racing;
  • Granted full accreditation status to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and interim accreditation status to the New York Drug Testing and Research Laboratory; and
  • Approved a split-sample submission program for regulators and laboratories to simplify and improve communication in the split-sample process.
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