The law governing controlled substances has long been a sore spot for
veterinarians that treat patients in their own homes. Under this law the
vets were banned from using certain drugs, such as for pain,
anesthesia, or euthanasia, outside of their primary place
of business. This has made it difficult for them to treat animals in
their homes without having the DEA breathing down their necks.
Since 2009, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has kept a close eye on veterinarians, stating that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) does not permit them to take controlled substances beyond their registered location, such as a clinic. Their narrow interpretation of the law has been terribly problematic for veterinarians who travel to visit their clients. Many of these animals are unable to make it into the clinic due to their size (cows, horses, etc.) or condition (e.g., seriously ill animals with mobility issues).
On January 8, 2014, the Senate passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act. The commonsense legislation will open up the ability for vets to treat their patients in the wild, on the farm or ranch, and in a client's home with what they need legally and without harassment from the authorities. While this is good news for veterinarians, this is especially good news for the animals that will benefit from being able to receive the treatment they need,
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) president, Dr. Clark Fobian, says that the Senate's passing of the act shows that they are listening to the veterinary profession and are working to make sure that animals in all settings are getting the medical care they need.
This piece of legislation still needs to pass in the House of Representatives so that vets can be assured of having the tools they need to give aid to animals, particularly in rural areas and in responding to emergency situations. The act will also allow vets whose practices cross state borders to be able to transport these medications as needed.
The House version of the bill has more than 140 cosponsors and is endorsed by the House Veterinary Medicine Caucus. To find out how you can get involved in support of the bill to help ensure its passage in the House, click here.