Drugs, biologics, procedures topics of new or adjusted policies

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

The AVMA changed policies related to prescriptions, biologics, reproductive technologies, aquaculture beyond state waters, and surgical procedures performed on show animals.

The changes approved by the AVMA Board of Directors are in addition to the changes in policies affecting antimicrobials, ethics, and diversity, as described in other articles in this issue.


Board members voted to create a new policy advocating that veterinarians deliver clear prescriptions to avoid medication errors. It notes that statements such as “no substitutions” and “dispense as written” can help avoid harmful alterations, and recommends that veterinarians be familiar with abbreviations, symbols, and terms used by pharmacists.

Doctor writing a prescriptionThe policy also encourages veterinarians to establish relationships with pharmacists and communicate with them, which will “establish the pharmacist as part of the veterinary health care team, promote education and foster consultations to address issues and questions that ultimately will arise.”

State VMAs have conducted surveys after hearing member concerns about unauthorized substitutions, and pharmacy organizations have responded that errors have been rare but that pharmacists have worked to further improve accuracy (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2014).

Exempt biologics

Another new policy, “Exempt Biologics,” provides guidance on preparation of biologics for veterinarians to administer to their own patients. The policy describes regulations and standards for creating biologics that are exempt from Department of Agriculture licensing rules.

Background information provided to Board members indicates members of the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents proposed the policy to raise awareness among veterinarians about how such substances differ from those prepared by licensed biologics firms.

Reproductive procedures

The Board also expanded a policy on embryo transfer to include advanced reproductive technologies, advocate that embryo transfers and other reproductive procedures be performed under the supervision of veterinarians, and, for research institutions, indicate such procedures should be approved by an institutional animal care and use committee.

“These projects must be conducted under approved animal care and use policies with guidelines for animal welfare and monitored by a committee that includes a licensed veterinarian,” it states.

Aquaculture in U.S. waters

Federally accredited veterinarians should be employed by aquaculture systems that are in U.S. waters but beyond state jurisdiction, according to a new AVMA policy.

The AVMA is advocating that the USDA ensure that veterinarians accredited by the department are involved in aquaculture in coastal waters and sections of the Great Lakes beyond state control. Their duties include not only ensuring health and welfare but also issuing international health certificates.

The AVMA also is advocating that the Veterinary Services division of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service lead oversight of farmed aquatic animals in such waters.

Surgical correction

Board members also voted to expand the policy advocating that animals remain qualified for conformation shows and obedience trials following surgeries to correct injuries. The policy now advocates that animals remain qualified following a broader range of procedures, such as application of dental braces, if the procedures are intended to correct injuries or deformities and are not intended to mask defective genotypes.