Congress passes Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act

Next stop: President Obama's desk

Published: July 08, 2014
By Jennifer Fiala

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act late this afternoon. Senators approved the measure in January.

The act, expected to soon become law, amends the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 to permit veterinarians to freely transport the drugs they need to euthanize, anesthetize or manage pain in animals as long as they have a state license to practice and are registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Right now, the DEA bars veterinarians from transporting controlled drugs away from where they are registered to handle them, per an interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act that many in the profession deem to be overly restrictive.

“Today is a victory for veterinarians across this country, but more importantly, it’s a victory for the health and well-being of the animals they are entrusted to care for,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader, a co-sponsor of the House version. “Ridiculous bureaucratic interference from the DEA would have seriously impeded veterinarians’ ability to properly treat their patients. The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will provide veterinarians with the certainty they need to continue to providing mobile or ambulatory services for their animal patients.”

Before veterinarians can comfortably carry controlled drugs to farm or house calls, some parliamentary procedures must occur to enact the law. Given that the bill’s House and Senate versions are identical, a congressional conference committee isn’t necessary to hash out differences in the measure. Rather, the Senate is expected to agree by unanimous consent to send the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act to the Oval Office for President Obama’s signature.

Lawmakers have until the congressional session ends on Dec. 12 to do that.

Practitioners have sent tens of thousands of letters to Congress in support of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, efforts prompted by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

In an action alert to the group’s 85,000-plus members, the association characterized the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act as “common-sense legislation.”

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