Anne M. Eberhardt

RMTC Cites Progress in Medication Reform Plan

Stakeholder group Dec. 9 provided update on status of state-by-state adoption.

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium said Dec. 9 the Thoroughbred industry has made “major gains” this year in the number of jurisdictions operating or soon to be operating under all or part of the National Uniform Medication Program.

The model rules adopted by the RMTC and Association of Racing Commissioners International include the Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule, which lists threshold testing levels and recommended withdrawal times for commonly used, legal substances; third-party administration of race-day furosemide, also known as Salix or Lasix; a multiple medication violation penalty system; and requirements for laboratory accreditation.

“Throughout 2014 the RMTC staff has traveled extensively and spent innumerable hours consulting with state regulators and others to assist in the full implementation of these new model rules that are so important to the safety and integrity of horse racing,” RMTC executive director Dr. Dionne Benson said. “We thank all of those who have worked in good faith to accomplish an unprecedented level of uniformity in 2014, and look forward to continuing the effort in 2015 and beyond.”

The RMTC, a group of 23 industry stakeholders, said that by early next year, the number of states with the Controlled Therapeutic Medication Schedule in place could be at least 16, up from four at the beginning of 2014. Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and West Virginia have or will soon join Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia in regulating therapeutic medications under the new guidelines.

The number of RMTC-accredited labs is expected to jump from six to 23 by early 2015. Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming have or will soon join California, Kentucky, Maine, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia as states using only RMTC-accredited lab testing services. Labs in New York and Pennsylvania are expected to be RMTC-accredited sometime in early 2015, and Texas has recently applied for RMTC accreditation.

The RMTC said states that have implemented the MMV penalty system will increase from three in January 2014 to at least nine by early 2015. The MMV penalty system, designed to work in a manner similar to the way states track an individual’s traffic violations, provides for enhanced penalties for individuals who accumulate multiple medication violations, regardless of the jurisdiction in which they occur. Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, and North Dakota have or will soon join Delaware, Massachusetts, and Virginia in using the system.

The number of states requiring third-party administration of furosemide, also known as Salix or Lasix, on race day is anticipated to rise from 13 in January 2014 to at least 16 by early 2015. Arkansas, California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania will join Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia in implementing the policy.

“We are very encouraged by the industry’s willingness to embrace reform and urge all horse racing jurisdictions in the United States to adopt the reforms in their entirely without further delay,” said Alex Waldrop, chairman of the RMTC and president and chief executive officer of the NTRA.