State Legislative Analysis

 State Legislative Update: March 2016

This State Legislative Update includes summaries of select bills tracked by the AVMA through March 15, 2016.

Last week, a new law went into effect in New York that requires pet retailers to provide purchasers with written instructions on proper care for small animals. The requirement applies to small mammals (such as hamsters, chinchillas, rabbits, mice and ferrets) and small amphibians. It does not apply to dogs, cats, birds, fish or feeder animals.
Also in New York, a legal challenge to a New York City ordinance regarding pet retailers will move forward on appeal. The ordinance, among other provisions, requires cats and dogs sold by pet stores to be spayed/neutered before sale (as long as the animal is at least eight weeks old and weighs at least two pounds). The New York Pet Welfare Association, a nonprofit trade association, is challenging the ordinance, in part, on grounds that it conflicts with veterinary practice laws that require veterinarians to assess each animal’s health before performing a procedure. A motion to dismiss the case was denied, and the appeal will be heard in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Compounding remains a key issue in the states

Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy recently approved regulations that allow compounding pharmacies to provide veterinarians with medications without a patient-specific prescription, effectively allowing veterinarians to access these drugs to maintain as office stock. The rules also allow veterinarians to dispense a seven-day supply from this office stock under certain circumstances.
Colorado HB 1324 would authorize a compounding pharmacy to compound and distribute a drug to a veterinarian without a specific patient indicated to receive the compounded drug. It also would allow a veterinarian to dispense a compounded drug, maintained as part of the veterinarian's office stock, in an amount not to exceed five days' worth of doses, if a patient has an emergency condition that the compounded drug is necessary to treat and the veterinarian cannot access the compounded drug through a compounding pharmacy in a timely manner.
Maryland’s SB 614, which would provide an exception to pharmacy law to allow veterinary office stock and dispensing of compounded medications, passed the Senate and moves on to the House. Similar bills in Massachusetts and New York await a committee hearing.
New pharmacy regulations in Delaware state that non-patient-specific compounded products may not be sold to a practitioner for office use unless covered under federal authority.

Veterinarians’ role in prescription-drug monitoring

At least 10 states are considering whether veterinarians should be included in prescription drug monitoring programs, which compile data on prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances in a statewide database. Proponents of these programs say they can help stem opioid abuse by preventing patients from receiving multiple prescriptions for these drugs. There is ongoing debate about whether veterinarians should be included in the requirements to report their prescribing and dispensing, and to consult the database before offering opioids to patients/clients.
Last month, the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy finalized regulations that exclude veterinarians from mandatory participation in the program. A bill signed into law earlier this year in New Hampshire clarifies that veterinarians need to report their dispensing data every seven days instead of daily, as is required of other health practitioners

Here is March 2016 chart of significant pending bills and regulations from around the country.