AVMA joins Minor Use/Minor Species Coalition, steps up efforts to address product availability

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As part of the AVMA's ongoing effort to enhance animal welfare by increasing the availability of drugs for minor uses and minor species, the Executive Board authorized the Association to become a member of the Minor Use/Minor Species Coalition. Currently it is not economically feasible for animal drug manufacturers to pursue drug approvals for these species, diseases, and conditions.

The goal of this coalition is to increase drug availability through a legislative initiative. Until now, the AVMA Aquaculture and Seafood Advisory Committee has been participating in the coalition program on an exploratory basis.

AVMA staff member Dr. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin, staff liaison to the AVMA aquaculture committee, was asked by the board for more background on the issue and the coalition. The Animal Drug Availability Act, passed in 1996 with AVMA as a key supporter, mandated, among other things, the FDA to report solutions to facilitate drugs for minor use and minor species, she noted. About 40 organizations are interested in pursuing this coalition initiative, which is backing pivotal segments of the FDA report. These groups include the Animal Health Institute, AAHA, American Feed Industry Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, National Aquaculture Association, many aquaculture and aquatic species-type organizations, and rabbit, game bird, small ruminant, zoo, and wildlife groups.

The coalition has drafted a document describing an ideal program and the legislative approach needed to achieve it. (The American Feed Industry Association has assisted in translating the concept paper into a draft bill.) This draft bill proposes several amendments to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, amendment of the Internal Revenue Code to grant tax credits to manufacturers and producers involved in clinical trials to offset drug development costs, and increased appropriations for the administering of grants.

The AVMA will send a representative to the next meeting of the coalition, and will eventually become involved in lobbying and grassroots activity.

The board approved the following two related proposals from the aquaculture committee.

To expose the aquaculture industry to veterinary medicine in a prominent way, the AVMA will send its tabletop booth to the Aquaculture America meeting in New Orleans, Feb 2-5. It will be staffed by representatives of the AVMA aquaculture committee.

The board approved a recommendation reinforcing the position that science must dictate antimicrobial use and approval decisions. To further that goal, pertinent AVMA entities will be informed of the implications and importance of the unique method of antibiotic delivery and the limited numbers of products available for use in aquatic species.