Board supports dialogue with pharmacies

Association’s budget, operating plan also approved at November meeting
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The AVMA hopes to meet with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to collaboratively discuss issues of concern related to pharmaceuticals used in veterinary medicine. To start a dialogue among the leadership of the two organizations, the AVMA Board of Directors approved funding during its meeting Nov. 17-19, 2016, at Association headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Also during the meeting this past fall, Board members sent a policy on responsible pet breeding (see JAVMA, Jan. 1, 2017) and other proposed policies to the AVMA House of Delegates for consideration at its regular winter session in January.

Dr. Rena Carlson-Lammers, District XI representative to the AVMA Board of Directors, listens to discussion at the Board’s meeting Nov. 17-19, 2016, at Association headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. Board members approved the Association’s 2017 budget and three-year operating plan for 2017-2019, among other things. (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)

In addition, a new AVMA policy approved by the Board supports mitigating the harmful effects of lead exposure on humans, other animals, and ecosystems (see story). Finally, revisions the Board made to the American Board of Veterinary Specialties composition and charge aim to increase transparency and collaboration in the specialty recognition process (see story).

Veterinary medication issues

The recommendation for the meeting with the NABP came from the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents and the AVMA Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee, both of which are “extremely concerned about health risks to animals resulting from the continued miscommunication and misunderstanding between the veterinary profession and human health care pharmacies as well as erroneous application of allowable modifications within the human healthcare sector being applied to veterinary prescriptions.”

Surveys conducted by five veterinary medical associations in 2012 and 2013 together indicate about a third of respondents knew of occasions when pharmacies dispensed drugs to clients that were different from those that were prescribed or were different in dosage, and they did so without consulting the prescribing veterinarian. Most of those changes occurred without any known harm. However, 10 percent of veterinarians responding said they have had patients harmed when outside pharmacies made substitutions in filling prescriptions (see JAVMA, Sept. 1, 2014).

The two entities perceive that pharmacists have little awareness of the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994, they wrote in the recommendation background, so including a discussion of it with the NABP is another critical element of the forthcoming meeting.

“Goals of the meeting are to collaboratively gain perspectives, hear concerns, and plan measures to mitigate problems for the common good of the veterinary profession, the pharmacies, and the safety of our patients. Ideally, deliverables would include a joint statement or a basic plan for continued collaboration targeting resolution of the issue and enhanced communication,” the background states.

Strategic priorities

In other Board actions, members approved the three-year strategic operating plan for 2017-2019 along with a 2017 budget. The plan has the Association focusing on four areas determined to best demonstrate and deliver member value. They are as follows:

  • Advocacy and public policy, with a focus on developing a public policy agenda.
  • Accreditation and certification, including implementation of an e-accreditation system.
  • Economics, including development of an economic outreach program.
  • Delivering membership value, including developing strategies for students and early-career veterinarians as well as investigating and developing a plan to partner on wellness and well-being efforts.

The work in those focus areas will be achieved by improving operational efficiency, with the adoption of best practices in data governance.

Starting in 2017, the AVMA plans to direct much of its advocacy efforts toward educational debt as the Higher Education Act is reauthorized. With regard to economics, the Association will continue its partnership with the graduate veterinary economics program at Colorado State University’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, which the Board approved and began funding last April to create a pipeline for economists to work with the AVMA and government agencies. The AVMA Veterinary Economics Division will also work on the AVMA’s pet demographic survey and a new series of annual surveys on demand for veterinary services in metropolitan markets.

So far, $1.4 million has been allocated from the AVMA reserves to spend this year on the strategic operating plan, which will focus on the strategic initiatives. Items being funded include the upcoming AVMA Global Summit on food security, taking place Feb. 9-11, at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The summit will explore public and private stakeholder partnerships involving national and international relief and development organizations and the veterinary community to promote and enhance global food security. In addition, $75,000 will go to the Veterinary Leadership Experience over the next three years, and $50,000 will go toward Reaching UP, the AVMA’s high-quality, high-volume spay-neuter clinic for underserved populations.  The AVMA will also contribute funding for four Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative networking events.

The 2017 AVMA budget anticipates $36.8 million in revenue and $36.7 million in expenses, with a net operating revenue of just over $100,000. The 2016 AVMA budget had $35.6 million in revenue and $35.5 million in expenses, resulting in a net operating revenue of just over $100,000.

The Board has chosen to invest in a comprehensive strategic plan based on member feedback to increase member value, said Dr. Janet Donlin, AVMA CEO. “They are accomplishing this by using funds set aside from reserves. The reserves have not decreased since the strategic management process was started three years ago, and in fact, have increased,” she said, thanks to income from investments and other sources of revenue. The total amount in reserves remains within the recommended 50 to 150 percent of the annual operating budget even after investing in the strategic management process from this account for the past three years.

Related JAVMA content:

AVMA funding economic research, graduate program (June 1, 2016)

Substitution errors (Sept. 1, 2014)