Senate Okays Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act

Veterinarians who make farm calls to treat equids are one step closer to better protection from federal drug prosecution after the U.S. Senate passed a bill to amend the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Passed by Congress in 1970, the CSA is intended to prevent the unauthorized manufacture, sale, and transport of drugs likely to be abused. Under current law, veterinarians who carry drugs to farm calls or in mobile veterinary units could be found in violation of the act.

Introduced last year by senators Angus King of Maine and Jerry Moran of Kansas, S 1171, or the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, would amend the CSA to allow licensed veterinarians who operate mobile clinics, respond to emergency situations, or who otherwise treat horses on farms and elsewhere, to lawfully transport and dispense controlled substances to treatment sites. Similar legislation, HR 1528, sponsored by Reps. Kurt Schrader and Ted Yoho remains pending in the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Jan. 8, the U.S. Senate passed S 1171 by a unanimous vote.

In a written statement, King said S 1171 enhances veterinarians' abilities to provide animals with care, especially in rural settings: “This bill will grant properly licensed veterinarians the right to carry and administer controlled substances, including important medications, allowing them to do their job,” King said.

American Association of Equine Practitioners President Jeff Blea, DVM, said the bill's passage is critical to equine heath care.

“Most equine veterinarians provide care for their patients at the owner's farm, not in a clinical setting,” said Blea. “The passage of this bill in the Senate is extremely important to the animals we treat.”

S 1171 now moves on to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.