The US House of Representatives passed legislation today that will allow veterinarians to legally carry medications that can save our horses' lives.
Thanks to a bi-partisan effort by Representatives Kurt Schrader, DVM (D-Oregon) and Ted Yoho, DVM, (R-Florida), a technicality in a law through the Drug Enforcement Agency has been modified so that veterinarians will be once again allowed to carry the medications they need.
Dr. Schrader's office issued this brief press release on Tuesday night explaining the bill's passing and what happens next in the process to get the bill to President Obama for his signature so it will become law.
Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) today praised the unanimous passage of H.R. 1528, the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, legislation he authored along with fellow veterinarian Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL). The bill would clarify that it is legal for veterinarians to carry and dispense controlled substances to ensure they are able to provide proper care for their animal patients, so long as they are licensed in the state in which they practice and registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
"Today is a victory for veterinarians across this country, but more importantly, it's a victory for the health and well-being of the animals they are entrusted to care for," said Schrader. "Ridiculous bureaucratic interference from the DEA would have seriously impeded veterinarians' ability to properly treat their patients. The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will provide veterinarians with the certainty they need to continue to providing mobile or ambulatory services for their animal patients."
Beginning in 2012, large animal and equine veterinarians who identified their residential address as their principal place of business began receiving notices from the DEA that they were in violation of the Controlled Substances Act. It is not uncommon for many rural veterinarians with home-based practices to provide mobile veterinary services to their clients; and for more than 40 years, the DEA had recognized the unique circumstances surrounding the veterinary profession and provided them with the flexibility they needed to treat their animal patients in the field. There is even a growing trend in suburban and urban mobile veterinary practices to provide home-based care for cats and dogs.
It was only until recently that the DEA changed its interpretation and began targeting veterinarians. After contacting the DEA in 2012 and exhausting all avenues to work with them to fix this problem administratively, Congressman Schrader introduced the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, H.R. 1528, which would clarify the Controlled Substances Act so that it is indeed legal for licensed veterinarians who are registered with the DEA to carry and use medications in the field. The legislation was endorsed by over 130 organizations across the country, including all 50 state veterinary medical associations.
Congressman Schrader's bill now awaits action in the Senate.