March 01, 2016


 AVMA favors chemical safety act, neutral on Sunshine Act

Posted Feb. 10, 2016

The AVMA will support a bill that would, in part, require efforts to reduce the use of animals in testing chemical hazards.

And the Association took a neutral position on possible future legislation that would make drug companies report to the federal government information on certain payments and valuables given to veterinarians.

The AVMA Board of Directors took those actions during a meeting Jan. 8 in Chicago as part of the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference.

Members of the AVMA Board of Directors voted on legislative positions, evaluation of existing programs, committee duties and membership, and leadership training, among other topics, during a meeting Jan. 8. Dr. Jose Arce (center) represents District IV on the Board. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

The AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee recommended taking a position in support of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which, among other provisions, would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to seek ways to reduce, refine, or replace use of laboratory animals in evaluating chemical dangers, which would be consistent with AVMA policy, according to documents provided to Board members.

The legislation passed in the Senate Dec. 17, 2015, on a voice vote. It would modify the Toxic Substances Control Act to make the EPA review the safety of chemicals in commerce, decide whether to approve new chemicals, consider only health and environmental impacts in its evaluations, and base decisions on impact to people most vulnerable, according to information from New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, the bill’s chief sponsor. The legislation also would make more information on chemicals available to the public.

The Board members also voted to adopt a position of “no action” on a potential Veterinarian Payments Sunshine Act. Background information provided by the AVMA legislative committee indicates U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York plans to introduce legislation to require public disclosure of financial ties between veterinarians and pharmaceutical makers—similar to disclosures required in the human medical profession.

Pharmaceutical, medical device, and biologics makers participating in federal health care programs already need to give the federal government reports on gifts to physicians and teaching hospitals, and data on those reports are available to the public.

The LAC information indicates staff in Slaughter’s office had asked in October for the AVMA’s position on a draft bill that would require drug and device manufacturers who give veterinarians payments or valuables worth more than $10 to file reports with the Department of Health and Human Services and would require publication of the collected information. No such bill had been introduced through January. 

Dr. Mark Helfat, vice chair of the Board and chair of the legislative committee, said in a message that the proposal is unnecessary and intrusive but that such legislation is unlikely to pass.