Model Rules Making Progress Across Country

Scot Waterman, executive director of the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, said the group has made significant progress the last year in getting racing jurisdictions to adopt its chapter on medication and model rules, a uniform set of medication and drug-testing policies.

Waterman gave a state-by-state progress report at a Drug Testing Standards and Practices forum Tuesday at the annual Racing Commissioners International conference in Lexington.

"I'm very pleased with the response we've gotten from the regulatory community for these model rules," Waterman said. "A year may sound like a long time, but when it comes to writing rules, it's not very long at all. We've been able to make a significant amount of progress."

Waterman said state jurisdictions that have already adopted the complete model rules package include Washington, Colorado, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, and Kansas, which was the first state to adopt the rules last July.

States that are close to adopting the model rules are California, Arizona, Wyoming, and Kentucky.

Regulators in the Mid-Atlantic--Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York--adopted the rules as a group in February, minus language regarding the medication ketoprofen.

"So with the exception of ketoprofen, we're in good shape in the Mid-Atlantic," Waterman said. "Virginia and Delaware have already come out with releases on their adoption, and I expect the others are coming along nicely."

Other states that have adopted a portion of the model rules concerning Salix, formerly known as Lasix, are Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Waterman said the consortium is working with those three states to move forward with the remaining model rules language this year.

Waterman said the consortium has met challenges in some states where adoption of the rules would require legislation changes.

"Iowa is in the minority of states that are going to require a fairly significant amount of changes in the legislature as opposed to being commission driven," Waterman said. "So while they're supportive it certainly may be a lengthy process getting legislative changes."

The consortium got started in Florida with Salix language, but faced legislative challenge. Waterman said Florida should be moving forward again this spring.

The consortium will soon be working with regulators in Maine, who recently requested the model rules.

"You're always going to have individual issues that pop up in individual states and they're not going to be the same issues," Waterman said. "What we try to do is work with each individual commission to work through those (issues). This process also helps us go back to the drawing board in some situations. When it is clear that something is not going to work in reality, then we can go back and tweak things. It's always a bit of a moving target I think. I don't know if we will ever be able to truly say with 100% certainty that we're uniform across the board in everything. It's not even a reasonable goal in my mind. We're just trying to get as close as we possibly can."

States remaining to address adoption of the model rules are: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, New Mexico, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Waterman said the consortium's goal is to get those remaining states to adopt the rules by end of the year, with exception of states that are going to require significant legislative changes.