Pickering introduces MUMS bill in House

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Mississippi Rep. Charles "Chip" Pickering introduced the House version of the Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act, May 14. The Senate version of the MUMS bill (S. 741) was introduced earlier this year by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

MUMS is a mechanism to provide Food and Drug Administration-authorized drugs for uncommon animal disease conditions in major species and for conditions in minor species for which therapies are unavailable.

If passed, the legislation would alleviate the shortage of approved animal drugs while maintaining and ensuring the protection of public health.

Opposing the bill are numerous activist groups that are erroneously asserting that the bill would fast-track transgenic animals and prevent the FDA from ensuring antimicrobial safety. Neither of these claims is true, however. The FDA must affirm the safety of a drug before it can be authorized under the MUMS bill.

Moreover, by providing needed medicines in species that have few or no approved drugs, the MUMS bill would relieve animal suffering and touch the lives of many people who love and care for their animals.

Twenty-two original co-sponsors, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, are co-sponsoring Pickering's bill (H.R. 2079), and additional co-sponsors are needed. The MUMS Coalition, which comprises a broad range of pharmaceutical and animal-interest groups, including the AVMA, is asking veterinarians to write their members of Congress to support the MUMS bill.

For information on how you can work with your representatives, contact Dr. David Scarfe or Dr. Elizabeth Curry-Galvin, (800) 248-2862, at AVMA headquarters in Illinois; or Dr. John Melcher, (202) 546-4084, in Washington, D.C. Also, visit www.avma.org/scienact/mums for additional information.

Contact information for your congressional representatives is located at www.congressmerge.com/index.htm.