Racing Medication Panel Refocused on Core Issues

After nearly five years in existence, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium is refocusing on some of its core goals such as uniform rules, drug research, and standardizing drug-testing procedures in the United States.

Included as part of the RMTC board meeting in Lexington Oct.16-17 was a strategic planning session that focused “on adoption of uniform rules and penalty guidelines, best practices and accreditation for drug-testing laboratories, research on prohibited substances, composition and representation of the board of directors, staffing needs, committee structure, funding strategies, and communications and public relations,” according to an RMTC statement.

Tentative decisions were reached to:

* Form a grassroots initiative to secure passage of uniform, model medication rules and penalty guidelines in more states.

* Encourage state legislatures to provide more funding for drug testing and racing commission investigative staff.

* Establish minimum standards, best practices, and ISO accreditation requirements for drug-testing laboratories.

* Develop requests for proposal on drug testing for prohibited and illegal substances.

* Provide more effective and timely communications of RMTC programs, research, and initiatives to racing industry organizations, media, and racing fans.

* Develop funding strategies to broaden the support base and increase contributions.

“This gets more of a refocus back on drug testing, uniformity of rules, uniformity of testing procedures at the labs, and research,” said Dan Fick, executive director of The Jockey Club, of which the RMTC is affiliated.

The meeting was attended by 27 RMTC board members and two members of the RMTC Chemist Advisory Committee. The research agenda included:

* Updates from three committees on the regulation of anabolic steroids, track security, and total carbon dioxide ("milkshake") testing protocols,

* An analysis of erythropoietin and darbapoietin” in out-of-competition testing,

* Research on withdrawal times for butorphanol, methocarbamol, and pyrilamine, and

* Proposals for research into withdrawal times for lidocaine, mepivacaine, glycopyrrolate, acepromazine, detomidine, stanozolol, aqueous testosterone, and boldenone.

The next meeting of the RMTC board of directors was tentatively set for the Association of Racing Commissioners International annual convention in Austin, Texas, March 24, 2008.

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