AVMA forms committee, seeks nominees to collaborate with FDA

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A new AVMA committee will work with the Food and Drug Administration on policies and regulations governing veterinarians' involvement in antimicrobial use in animals.

And the Association is seeking nominations for active AVMA members familiar with the practical uses of such drugs to serve on it.

The Executive Board approved spending a total of $44,000 in 2011 and 2012 to fund the AVMA Steering Committee for FDA Policy on Veterinary Oversight of Antimicrobials. This group of five veterinarians will report to the Executive Board and work with FDA officials on determining how deeply veterinarians should be involved in decisions regarding antimicrobial use in animals.

Dr. Daniel E. Lafontaine, chair of the AVMA House Advisory Committee, said discussions and research among members of the AVMA Antimicrobial Use Task Force, which he chaired until it was sunset in summer 2010, showed a need to work with the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine in developing practical means to increase veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use.

"The issue of use of antimicrobials by veterinarians and the potential of antibiotics that are used in humans not being available—through legislation or regulation—is a major issue facing veterinary medicine, both for food animals and potentially for companion animals," Dr. Lafontaine said.

The board's decision to create the committee fits with actions taken July 30 by the AVMA House of Delegates, which voted unanimously to enact two resolutions regarding antimicrobial use in animals. One of the resolutions created a policy indicating veterinarians should be involved in decisions regarding antimicrobial use in animals, regardless of whether the drugs were purchased over the counter or through another distribution channel. The second resolution created a policy indicating the AVMA should be involved in decisions that could affect the availability of antimicrobial drugs.

Dr. Lafontaine thinks the AVMA and FDA have common goals regarding antimicrobial use, but deciding on the means to accomplish those goals is a difficult issue. He expects those on the committee will be well-educated on antimicrobial issues yet able to take an unbiased approach in discussions with FDA officials.

Those interested in nominating others or themselves to work on the committee must, by Feb. 15, submit an application, nomination form, and curriculum vitae. For more information, contact the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President or go to www.avma.org, click on "About the AVMA," then on "Volunteer opportunities," and "Current Volunteer Opportunities."