Update on Pharmaceutical Issues

​August 2012

By Dr. Ashley Morgan, assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division

DEA Update

This past April, California veterinarians received requests for clarification on their principal places of business when a residential address was used.  While not illegal, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) does not like to see a residential address used as a place where controlled substances are delivered and stored. That being said, controlled substances cannot be taken outside of a registered location per CFR 1301.12, “A separate registration is required for each principal place of business or professional practice at one general physical location where controlled substances are manufactured, distributed, imported, exported or dispensed by a person.” This means that it is illegal for veterinarians to carry controlled substances out of the registered location, be it a home or clinic, for use on farms, in pet’s homes, or in veterinary mobile units. 

The AVMA sent a letter to the DEA in April following the discussions in California. Since that time, Washington State has also had discussions with their DEA field office in Seattle. The AVMA and other stakeholders, like the United States Animal Health Association, have been involved in ongoing discussions with the DEA on this issue for quite some time. DEA maintains that a statutory change is required to address this issue.

The AVMA GRD remains engaged with Congressional offices, particularly Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), as we work to address the issues with transporting controlled substances. The AVMA's Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents established a subcommittee to provide guidance on this issue. At the same time, numerous allied stakeholders are working with the AVMA to make Congressional offices aware of our concerns and garner support for Congressional action. We will continue to update members as we move forward.

H.R. 1406 Update

While H.R. 1406, the Fairness to Pet Owners Act, which would mandate prescription writing, remains quiet in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health with only five cosponsors, the AVMA is focusing efforts on educating the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC will be hosting a public workshop October 2, in Washington, DC, to examine competition and consumer protection issues in the pet medications industry. For more information in the issue, listen to this short podcast with FTC staff. The workshop is free and open to the public. 

Additionally, the FTC has posed questions in the Federal Register to which they are seeking input from the public. Comments are due by September 14 and can be submitted electronically or via postal mail; however, electronic submissions are encouraged due to the delay in delivery of postal mail.   

Throughout this public comment period, veterinarians have the opportunity to provide feedback to the FTC.  There are numerous examples of the veterinary profession making an impact after expressing our perspectives and concerns to the Executive Branch. Now is another time when policy-makers need to hear from the profession.

For more information please contact amorganatavma [dot] org (Dr. Ashley Morgan), assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division.

The AVMA Advocate - News Bites - August 2012