August 15, 2016


 Creation of antimicrobials committee among Board acts

​AVMA Board seeks to harmonize a complicated, inefficient process

Posted July 27, 2016

A new AVMA committee will have oversight of antimicrobial policies for the Association, harmonizing discussion and activities that previously involved at least eight AVMA entities. The Committee on Antimicrobials will advise the AVMA Board of Directors and serve as the primary AVMA resource on all areas pertaining to antimicrobials, including use, resistance, and stewardship.

The AVMA Board approved creation of the antimicrobials committee while meeting in Washington, D.C., June 14-15.

While in Washington, D.C., for their June meeting, members of the AVMA Board of Directors lobbied their respective members of Congress to support three legislative measures on behalf of the profession and animal welfare. 

The JAVMA previously reported on Dr. Arnold Goldman’s election during the same meeting as 2017-2018 AVMA treasurer (see JAVMA, Aug. 1, 2016). The AVMA treasurer serves up to six consecutive one-year terms. Dr. Goldman owns and operates a small animal practice in Canton, Connecticut, and represents the Connecticut VMA in the AVMA House of Delegates. He will spend the next year learning from the current treasurer, Dr. Barbara Schmidt of Union, Kentucky, and will succeed her when she finishes her sixth term in 2017.

In addition to working on AVMA business, board members lobbied their respective representatives in Congress to support three bills that would promote the veterinary profession and enhance animal welfare: the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, and Marketplace Fairness Act/Remote Transactions Purity Act. More information about the AVMA’s legislative agenda is available online here.

The AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials was proposed by a working group convened by the AVMA Board of Governors (the AVMA Board chair, vice chair, president, president-elect, and immediate past president) and was based in part on recommendations from the Task Force for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Companion Animal Practice and the Regulatory Advisory Panel. The former advised the dedication of AVMA resources to support antimicrobial stewardship, while the latter suggested formation of an interentity working group to harmonize the AVMA’s antimicrobial use policies.

In its proposal to the AVMA Board, the Board of Governors described the current process in which at least eight AVMA councils or committees oversee antimicrobial issues as “not efficient for volunteer leaders, staff, or AVMA members because it has resulted in a redundancy of efforts and an unnecessarily complicated web of interactions, detracting from efficient and effective decision making processes. It has also caused the AVMA to act slowly on time-sensitive issues and struggle with clarity of a unified response.”

“Additionally,” the proposal continued, “the diffusion of effort has stretched the resources of AVMA allied organizations and made it difficult for them to coordinate their volunteers’ actions, including AVMA receiving consistent messaging.”

Key Board actions:

  • Approved creation of an AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials to replace oversight of antimicrobial issues by eight AVMA entities.
  • Elected Dr. Arnold Goldman as 2017-2018 AVMA treasurer.
  • Lobbied members of Congress to support the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act,
  • Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, and Marketplace Fairness Act/Remote Transactions Purity Act.
  •  Granted another year of provisional recognition for the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.
  • Approved proposals from the Task Force on Veterinary Compounding to draft federal legislation on animal drug compounding and to hire a legal consultant to support that effort.

To streamline the process, the Board of Governors working group devised a plan for a single entity on the basis of input from relevant AVMA councils and committees. The AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials—as recommended by the Board of Governors—consists of nine voting seats, eight of them filled by a primary representative and an alternate from a veterinary organization. Each must be an AVMA member veterinarian with a background in pharmacology, microbiology, epidemiology, or public health. The ninth voting seat is for an at-large member with a background and demonstrated expertise in public health.

Represented on the committee are the American Animal Hospital Association, American Association of Avian Pathologists, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Association of Fish Veterinarians, American Association of Food Safety and Public Health Veterinarians, American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, and American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

The AVMA is working toward having members of the new committee named during the September Board meeting.

The Board approved a recommendation from the American Board of Veterinary Specialties for the AVMA to continue its provisional recognition of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation for another year.

Board members also approved proposals from the Task Force on Veterinary Compounding Legislation to draft federal legislation concerning animal drug compounding and the hiring of a legal consultant to support that effort. The task force was created with the purpose of developing a legislative proposal pursuant to AVMA policy with regard to compounding.

Compounding is currently regulated by both federal and state governments. At the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration regulates compounding for animal patients via its Extra-Label Drug Use Rules. The FDA has also been working on guidance for industry that attempts to describe its thinking on compounding from bulk drug substances for animals. Currently, the state boards of pharmacy generally oversee pharmacy services within each state while the state veterinary medical boards oversee the practice of veterinary medicine, including prescribing.

In its recommendation to the AVMA Board, the task force stated its support for the oversight, regulation, and enforcement of compounding for animal patients at the federal level. This, the task force explained, would help ensure consistency and clarify regulation and enforcement by state boards of pharmacy and veterinary medical boards.

Although the task force supports federal oversight of veterinary compounding, it is dependent on the FDA’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to violations of the law and changes in the marketplace such as drug shortages.

After several meetings with the task force and listening to input from key stakeholders, the following issues were deemed critical to address in the draft legislation: veterinary compounding from bulk drug substances; disclosure to clients and prescription labeling; office stock; drug shortages and unavailability; adverse event reporting; quality assurance testing; liability; drug mimics and new products; and compounding in the areas of zoo, wildlife, laboratory animals, and aquariums.

The Board allocated $20,000 for a legal consultant to write draft legislation. Then, AVMA Governmental Relations Division staff will work with stakeholders, allied veterinary organizations, and members of Congress to introduce it and work toward passage.

The Board made the following liaison appointments: American National Standards Institute Z136 Committee: Dr. Kenneth Sullins of Blacksburg, Virginia; and Veterinary Infection Control Committee: Dr. Jennifer Quammen of Butler, Kentucky.