07/09/2014 1:03PM

Congress passes Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act


The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act on Tuesday afternoon, which allows licensed veterinarians to freely transport the drugs necessary for their trade.

The act, which was approved by the Senate in January and is expected to be signed into law, amends the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, in which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency bars veterinarians from transporting drugs away from where they are registered to handle them – such as a clinic or a mobile vet’s home base.

Under the letter of the law, veterinarians who drove from farm to farm to work with animals were technically in violation, even if the drugs met DEA record-keeping requirements and were stored securely. Some California vets had even been warned as such by the DEA as far back as 2012.

According to the Controlled Substances Act, separate registration was required “for each principal place of business or professional practice at one general physical location where controlled substances are manufactured, distributed, imported, exported, or dispensed by a person.”

Under the new act, veterinarians would be allowed to transport drugs as long as they have a state license to practice and are registered with the DEA. The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act was supported by several professional groups including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

“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,” Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), a co-sponsor of the House version, told Veterinary Information Network. “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.”

With bills of identical language being passed in the House and Senate, the act is expected to be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. Lawmakers have until the end of the congressional session on Dec. 12 to send the bill to the president.