Proposed Changes To Controlled Substances Act Would Benefit Vets

Veterinarian's need assistance from the government in order to facilitate the way they get to their patients.


Reps. Kurt Schrader, top, and Ted Yoho

Veterinarians could legally transport and dispense controlled substances away from their clinics under a bill introduced April 12 by two veterinarians, U.S. Reps. Kurt Schrader and Ted Yoho.

The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013 (HR 1528) would be of particular assistance to mobile and ambulatory practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association reported today.

"As Congressmen Schrader and Yoho can attest, being a veterinarian does not start and stop within the walls of the veterinary clinic,” said Mark Lutschaunig, DVM, director of AVMA’s Governmental Relations Division. "To provide complete care for their animal patients, veterinarians must have the ability to transport the medications they need beyond their brick-and-mortar clinics.”

Bureaucratic red tape hinders veterinarians’ ability to properly care for their patients, said Schrader, D-Ore.

"As my fellow veterinarians know all too well, in the practice of veterinary medicine we are often required to provide mobile or ambulatory services in the field to treat our animal patients in a wide variety of settings,” Schrader said. "The Drug Enforcement Administration’s confusing interpretation of existing law makes little sense [and] is completely unreasonable.

"We’re moving forward with what any reasonable person would interpret as a common-sense legislative solution to this bureaucratic nonsense,” he added.

The AVMA stated that members of its Washington, D.C.-based Governmental Relations Division met with the DEA and Capitol Hill staff to develop the legislation updating the Controlled Substances Act.

The DEA, which enforces the Controlled Substances Act, recently notified California and Washington state veterinarians that they were violating the law when transporting controlled substances, including drugs used for pain management, anesthesia and euthanasia, outside of their registered locations.

"This is another example of a well-intentioned regulation getting in the way of highly trained professionals trying to do their jobs efficiently,” said Yoho, R-Fla. "Veterinarians like us must be able to travel to treat animals, and in emergency cases, any veterinarian should be able to get to the animal—and the community—in need. The government should facilitate this important work and not allow it to be debilitated with bureaucracy.”

AVMA noted that passage of the law would assist veterinarians:

• Who make house calls or operate mobile veterinary clinics.
• Who conduct field research or disease-control work outside of their principal places of business.
• In rural areas where owners have difficulty bringing large animals or livestock to a veterinary hospital.
• When injured animals must be cared for onsite.
• When moving or rescuing dangerous wildlife and other wild animals.

More than 110 veterinary medical organizations, ranging from the American Animal Hospital Association to the Wyoming Veterinary Medical Association, support the legislation, AVMA added.

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