The Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, a bill to allow veterinarians to carry controlled substances off registered premises. The bill passed the House last week.
Previously, veterinarians were compelled by law to adhere to the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, which stipulates that controlled substances must be stored and dispensed at the specific address veterinarians have on file with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, DEA since November, 2009, has informed the veterinary profession that the Controlled Substances Act does not permit registrants to take controlled substances beyond their registered locations, such as a clinic or home in a veterinarian's case.
Without a statutory change like the Vet Medicine Mobility bill, veterinarians responding to farm calls, operating mobile clinics, attending to animals in shelters, conducting research and disease control activities, responding to emergency response situations, and performing removal or transfer of dangerous wildlife are in violation and cannot legally provide complete veterinary care.
"By legalizing the transportation and dispensation of controlled substances, licensed practitioners will be equipped with the tools they need. It is particularly important for practitioners who work in rural areas, conduct research or respond to emergency situations," said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
"The Veterinary Mobility Act is a big win for animal health, public health, and rural communities across the country. By ensuring that veterinarians can travel to their patients to administer safe, humane care, we can better serve animals and protect our nation's food supply," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Though the Senate in January passed the bill, it chose to take up the most recent version of the bill, passed last week in the House. It now moves to the President's desk for his approval.
The legislation is endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.