On Oct 5, Alabama Sen Jeff Sessions introduced a companion bill to the Minor Animal Species Health and Welfare Act of 2000 being considered in the House.
The bill (S 3169) creates a program similar to the Human Orphan Drug Program to increase the number of drugs available to treat minor animal species and species with rare illnesses.
There is a shortage of approved drugs for minor species and uncommon uses because pharmaceutical companies have avoided the costly development and approval process for products with low profit expectations.
To offset these costs, however, the bill also authorizes incentives for companies trying to bring these much-needed drugs to market (see JAVMA, Aug 15, 2000, page 460).
This past summer, Mississippi Rep Charles Pickering Jr introduced the House version of bill the (HR 4780).
Congress' consideration of this issue is a result of lobbying by the Minor Use Minor Species Coalition. Members include the AVMA, AAHA, American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine, and American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners.