The AVMA has contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration to voice its opposition to the proposed fee increase for controlled substances registration. In an April 16 letter to the DEA, the AVMA states it "believes the fee is unreasonable and is a disproportionate tax on veterinarians."
The DEA is proposing to increase the current fee schedule for controlled substances registration so that it can collect enough money to continue running the Diversion Control Program. Officials say the budget needed to run this program has doubled since 1993, the year of the last registration fee increase.
The AVMA says that, since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1971, the registration fee has risen from $5 per year to the proposed $131 per year with no commensurate benefit to the veterinary practitioner registrant. Although the DEA is spending considerable funds on its secure electronic prescribing and purchasing initiatives, these initiatives are unlikely to benefit practicing veterinarians. Veterinarians may dispense rather than always prescribe drugs, and consequently, the proportion of controlled substances prescribed is likely to be less than that of other professional practitioners.
The proposed annual cost increases would be from $70 to $131 for dispensers and practitioners; from $875 to $1,605 for manufacturers; from $438 to $804 for distributors, importers, and exporters; and from $70 to $131 for researchers and narcotic treatment programs. These increases would go into effect 30 days after the publication of the final rule. The proposed rule was published in the Feb. 18, 2003, Federal Register, www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a030218c.html.