04/17/2013 2:24PM

Legislation introduced permits mobile drug transport by veterinarians

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Two federal congressmen have introduced legislation that would amend the Controlled Substances Act and allow mobile veterinarians to carry controlled substances, including euthanasia solution, away from the drugs’ registered location, usually a clinic.

The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners have announced support for the bill, which comes a year after the Drug Enforcement Agency began alerting West Coast mobile veterinarians that they were violating the law by carrying controlled substances in their vehicles on farm or racetrack visits.

The DEA’s stance prompted veterinarians to call for an exemption that would allow them to carry controlled substances they consider critical to their work and to animal welfare, such as the sedative butorphanol, the anesthetic ketamine, and pain-management and euthanasia drugs.

The Veterinary Mobility Act of 2013 (HR 1528) that Congressmen Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) and Ted Yoho (R-Florida) introduced on April 12 specifically allows veterinarians to carry and dispense controlled substances for animal patients. Both Schrader and Yoho also are veterinarians.

The Controlled Substances Act requires “a separate registration ... 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.” Mobile or ambulatory veterinarians typically carry controlled substances in a locked box and adhere to DEA record-keeping requirements, and veterinary groups had argued that prohibiting that practice would lead to delays in vital veterinary treatment.