Dr. Wayne McIllwraith

Dr. Wayne McIllwraith

Medication Summit Report Makes 21 Recommendations

Uniformity among testing procedures and the development of a broad-based funding mechanism to support expanded testing programs and research were among 21 recommendations made by Racehorse Medication Summit report released today.

The report also recommends that furosemide, better known as Salix or formerly Lasix, should be the only drug permitted on raceday, that one of five U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications be allowed no later than 24 hours prior to a race, and that substances to be classified as "true zero tolerance," even with the most sensitive testing method, should be identified.

Recommendations in the report were the key issues that representatives of 15 national Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse organizations agreed upon during the summit, which was held Dec. 4 in Tucson, Ariz. The summit was sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

"The dialogue and the collaboration of the participants was unprecendented, and we believe the summit was a key first step in solving the complex and challenging issues surrounding medication," said Dr. Wayne McIllwraith, immediate past president of the AAEP.

The report acknowledged that its scope is limited and focuses only on the major points in which consensus was achieved during the one-day meeting.

"It is recognized that there are other issues that will need to be addressed in the future," the report stated.

"This document represents the earnest contributions of a group far broader and more diverse than that which has ever tackled the issue of drug testing reform," said Jim Gallagher, executive director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force. "It is this selfless collaboration, we hope, that will lead to real progress."

The next goal of summit participants is to schedule a follow-up meeting within the next 30-60 days, according to Gallagher.

"There is a strong desire to build on the momentum of what we've been doing," he said. While it is preferable that participants gather someplace for further discussions, Gallagher said the next meetings may be a series of conference calls.

The summit report breaks down its recommendations into four categories: medication, testing, security, and enforcement.

The following points of consensus were considered to be fundamental:

* It is the highest priority that a broad-based funding mechanism be developed to support these initiatives identified in this document.

* There should be uniformity across state lines and in all jurisdictions.

* Any medication policy must take into consideration the integrity of horseracing, the health and welfare of the horse, the long-term interests of the breeds, and the safety of the rider and driver.

* A National Advisory Body should be created to address the development of medication policies and practices. In addition, a National Reference Laboratory or Laboratories should be developed in order to address issues of testing, e.g. research into and method development for new substances and quality assurance and accreditation for all laboratories conducting post-race sample analysis.

* Education and dissemination of consistent information about industry policies to all segments of the industry and the betting public and the public at large is essential.

Text of Medication Summit Report