Posted on September 5, 2012
The AVMA House of Delegates was nearly unanimous in its vote Aug. 3 for a resolution that calls on the AVMA to communicate with nonveterinary pharmacies to promote best practices in dispensing for pets.
About 90 percent of delegates approved the proposal, which was submitted by the Executive Board. Information in the statement about the resolution states in part: “For years, non-veterinary pharmacies have been dispensing medications for pets, and now these pharmacies fill veterinary drug prescriptions with increasing frequency. The AVMA is concerned about the negative consequences to a pet’s health when prescription medications are inappropriately or inaccurately dispensed by a licensed pharmacist who is not adequately trained in veterinary pharmacology. We want to ensure that licensed pharmacists understand their roles and responsibilities for counseling and educating clients when filling a veterinary prescription. These include verification with the prescribing veterinarian should the pharmacist have any question about the medication or dosage.”
Dr. Jon E. Basler, the delegate from Alaska, who voted in favor of the resolution, said, before the vote, that while the proposal is well-intended and needed, it doesn’t go far enough.
“As a private practitioner, I constantly get prescriptions that say ‘use as directed.’ I don’t know how many of you go to the pharmacy and get a drug that says ‘use as directed,’” Dr. Basler said. “My clients don’t remember five minutes after walking out the door how a drug is to be used. We need to push for a higher standard of those who want to dispense to owners.”
“A glance at the curriculum of a college of pharmacy shows intensive coursework in human medicine and zero in veterinary or comparative pharmacology. How can we work as equal colleagues?”
Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, Connecticut delegate to the AVMA
Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, Connecticut delegate, said veterinarians in his state were working to require pharmacists to receive more education about animal drugs.
“A glance at the curriculum of a college of pharmacy shows intensive coursework in human medicine and zero in veterinary or comparative pharmacology,” he said. “How can we work as equal colleagues? The burden shouldn’t be on us to educate them on every telephone call. The questions they ask seem so low-level on what they should know.”
The HOD also voted on a proposed revision to the Association bylaws that would eliminate the position of AVMA vice president. Currently, the AVMA vice president is a voting member of the Executive Board and serves as the Association’s liaison with veterinary students. Delegates referred the bylaws amendment to the Task Force on AVMA Governance and Member Participation.
Dr. George W. Bishop, alternate delegate for California, said the HOD reference committee that had reviewed the proposal discussed the matter at length and thought a referral would be appropriate, because the task force is in the process of evaluating the AVMA’s governance structure.
Finally, aside from a policy the HOD approved on raw food diets (see page 679), the remaining items were passed by unanimous consent:
• Changes to the definition of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship in the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act to replace all instances of the word “animal” with the word “patient,” a term that includes multiple animals.
• An AVMA Bylaws amendment that gives the AVMA Council on Research a stated focus of advising the AVMA Executive Board on scientific research and discovery as well as a responsibility to advise the board on the direction of the American Journal of Veterinary Research.
• Revisions to the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics of the AVMA to update and clarify the document.
• A revision to the AVMA Guidelines for Veterinarians and Veterinary Associations Working with Animal Control and Animal Welfare Organizations that encourages veterinarians to contribute their expertise more broadly to animal control and animal welfare organizations.
• A revision to the policy “Animal Fighting” to more clearly encourage veterinarians to educate the public about the harm caused by animal fighting and to collaborate with law enforcement regarding prosecution of pertinent laws.
• A revision to the policy “Physical Restraint of Animals” to add the following line: “Every effort should be made to ensure adequate and ongoing training in animal handling and behavior by all parties involved, so that distress and physical restraint are minimized.”