National HBPA Proposes Penalty Rule Changes

The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association most likely will make recommendations for revisions to the proposed national model rule on medication penalties.

The National HBPA Medication Committee endorsed the changes, based in part on surveys from trainers, during a July 12 meeting in Shakopee, Minn. The group's board of directors will consider the changes during its meeting July 14.

In regard to the multiple violation penalties, called MVPs in the proposed model rule, the committee recommended slight modification of the points system. For instance, it believes a violator should earn 1.25 points instead of 2 points for a positive for a non-controlled, Class C substance.

The committee supports the proposed 6 points for a confirmed positive for a Class A substance, but it believes exceptions should be made for "endogenous, dietary, and environment contaminants" that can ultimately lead to positive tests. It also believes MVP-related suspensions should be served concurrently with any suspension imposed based on the underlying medication violation.

The National HBPA committee also said the proposed list of 24 controlled therapeutic medications needs to be expanded. Committee chairman Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida HBPA, said he believes 34 is a more "reasonable" number.

"We're finding out what veterinarians feel they really need for their practice," Stirling said. "There shouldn't be one FDA-approved medication that can be used, and another FDA-approved medication that can't be used just because somebody said so."

National HBPA executive director Phil Hanrahan noted there are three anti-ulcer drugs; the one on the controlled list costs $32, and one not on the list costs $2, he said.

The Association of Racing Commissioners International will consider the proposed model rule in late July in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

"This is very complex, with a lot of moving parts," said committee member Frank Petramalo, executive director of the Virginia HBPA. "We're not always confident a lot of thought goes into these things before they are promulgated as a model rule. The only reason we're trying to tweak this is because (the model rule) is inevitable."

"They are going to pass a version of this rule," said Dave Basler, executive director of the Ohio HBPA. "Where we are going—because of fear of federal intervention—is we want to get the best rule we can get."

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