Veterinarians should be allowed to carry and dispense controlled substances for animal care so long as they are properly licensed, the U.S. House of Representatives decided Wednesday, voting unanimously in favor of H.R. 1528, the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act.
Previously, large animal and equine veterinarians who identified their residential address as their principal place of business began receiving notices from the Drug Enforcement Agency that they were in violation of the Controlled Substances Act when carrying and using medications in the field.
Though it is not uncommon for many rural veterinarians with home-based practices to provide mobile veterinary services, says bill sponsor Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., the DEA began targeting veterinarians for violations two years ago – and the bill aims to change that.
"Today is a victory for veterinarians across this country, but more importantly, it's a victory for the health and well-being of the animals they are entrusted to care for," said Schrader in a press statement. "Ridiculous bureaucratic interference from the DEA would have seriously impeded veterinarians' ability to properly treat their patients. The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will provide veterinarians with the certainty they need to continue to providing mobile or ambulatory services for their animal patients."
After contacting the DEA in 2012 and exhausting all avenues to work with them to fix this problem administratively, Schrader introduced H.R. 1528 to clarify the Controlled Substances Act so that it is indeed legal for licensed veterinarians who are registered with the DEA to carry and use medications in the field.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has supported the bill through media outreach and several advertising campaigns in D.C. publications.
The Senate earlier this year passed a similar veterinary mobility bill, sponsored by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. and Angus King, I-Maine.