Medication Consortium Discusses Policy, Incorporation

The Racing Medication and Testing Consortium is moving forward with a national policy statement and plans to incorporate.

The group of industry representatives met Oct. 15-16 in Lexington, and will meet again probably in January 2003. Dr. Scot Waterman, executive director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force, said discussion on the policy statement took up about 80% of the 1 1/2-day meeting.

"It's still a work in progress," Waterman said. "We're still going with the basic philosophy that horses should not race under the influence of medication, with some exceptions. Everybody seemed to come with an open mind. It was very congenial--we even laughed a few times as a group."

When the Racehorse Medication Summit was held in December 2001, participants came out with a suggestion that only furosemide (Salix) be used on race days. That stemmed from an American Association of Equine Practitioners policy statement and the belief that much more research was necessary before other therapeutic medications could be added to the list.

Waterman said adjunct bleeder medications, for example, have been discussed by the consortium, "but the science has to be behind it" before any policy is formulated.

Those determinations would come after further research, which is tied to long-term funding for the consortium. Waterman said the group has enough money--about $700,000--to continue with its mission in the interim. It also "is going to officially be an organization," he said, complete with articles of incorporation and bylaws.