U.S. Senate unanimously passes Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act

Veterinarians who sometimes need to treat patients outside of the clinic are closer to shedding certain restrictions of the Controlled Substances Act that have limited their ability to transport and dispense controlled substances for pain management, anesthesia, and euthanasia.

The U.S. Senate recently passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which now makes its way to the U.S. House for consideration, the AVMA reported.

"The Senate's action proves that our nation's leaders are listening to the veterinary profession and are diligently working to ensure that animals in all settings continue to receive the best quality care," said Clark Fobian, DVM, AVMA president. "To be a veterinarian, you must be willing to go to your patients when they cannot come to you, and this means being able to bring all of the vital medications you need in your medical bag. We are pleased that the Senate has taken action to fix a loophole in federal regulation, which has concerned veterinarians over the past few years, and urge the U.S. House to swiftly follow suit."

The AVMA had previously identified several specific situations where the Controlled Substance Act was preventing veterinarians from fully doing their jobs, including:

  • Working in rural areas requiring travel over long distances
  • Responding to emergency situations that require drug administration
  • Responding to situations involving dangerous wildlife
  • Conducting research or disease control
  • Operating a mobile veterinary clinic or making house calls
  • Living on a state border and providing care in two states, but only being registered in one state

The result of tireless advocacy

The AVMA said its Governmental Relations Division spent the past year actively engaged with Capitol Hill staff on the topic of amending the Controlled Substances Act to be less restrictive to veterinarians. The division also has been educating the public and the profession about the need for updated legislation.

AVMA members have also played a significant role in the effort by sending more than 24,000 letters to Congress in support of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, the organization said.

Next steps

Now that the bill has cleared the U.S. Senate, the AVMA is encouraging people to contact their local representatives and prompt them to co-sponsor and vote for the companion bill - H.R. 1528.

NEWStat Legislation & regulation