Advocating for veterinary patients’ pharmaceutical needs

Vaccine being held by gloved hands


guiding public policy

In this article:
  • Learn how the AVMA’s advocacy work helps ensure that veterinarians and our patients have access to the drugs needed to protect animal health.
  • Discover the AVMA's priorities when working with Washington policymakers on pharmaceutical topics.
  • Find out how to stay up to date on pharmacy and related issues being considered in Congress.

The AVMA works with policymakers to advocate for sensible pharmaceutical regulations that recognize the unique and important needs of veterinary medicine. We work to ensure that veterinarians will have access to the drugs needed to treat our patients. This includes providing appropriate veterinary access to controlled substances, compounded medications, and extra-label prescribing options.

The Association’s advocacy team works with both Congress and federal regulatory agencies to support and protect the pharmaceutical needs of veterinary patients. To do this, the AVMA builds strong, bipartisan working relationships with lawmakers and collaborates on an ongoing basis with federal agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration.

Controlled substances

An important focus for the AVMA’s advocacy is to ensure that veterinarians are able to access and prescribe the medications needed by our patients, including controlled substances, without unintended or unnecessarily burdensome restrictions. From opioids to xylazine to ketamine, the AVMA’s advocacy team helps policymakers understand veterinary needs and works toward policy that protects both human and animal health.


Because compounding is a critical tool for veterinarians, the AVMA ensures that veterinary needs are heard and considered when compounding is under consideration in regulatory rulemaking and in Congress. This includes working with both the FDA and lawmakers to help them understand the complexities and necessity of compounding for animal patients.

Dr. Teller testifying

Supporting new animal drug development

When Congress considers whether to continue allowing the collection of user fees from sponsors of animal drugs, the AVMA helps lawmakers understand the importance of these fees. AVMA's president testified before a congressional subcommittee on the matter in April 2023.

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Get involved

AVMA's advocacy work is powered by the combined strength of our diverse membership. From online letter-writing to in-person visits with lawmakers, volunteer advocates help drive legislative successes that protect, promote, and advance the veterinary profession. You can start with these simple actions:

Discover more ways to increase your impact at