The U.S. Senate last week approved the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, a measure that would allow veterinarians to administer and carry controlled substances beyond their registered locations.
The bill was sponsored by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. and Angus King, I-Maine.
"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," said American Veterinary Medical Association President Clark Fobian.
"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."
Since November 2009, the Drug Enforcement Administration has informed the veterinary profession that the Controlled Substances Act does not permit registrants to take controlled substances beyond their registered locations, such as a clinic or home in a veterinarian's case, AVMA said.
AVMA added that this provision is problematic for veterinarians who care for animals in a variety of settings and or who live on a state border -- providing care in two states, but only having registered in one state.
The DEA has indicated in the past that without a statutory change to the law, some veterinarians may be practicing outside the confines of the law.
"The passage of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act today is a step in the right direction for the licensed practitioners who help ensure public safety and care for animals in Kansas and across the country," Sen. Moran said in a press statement. "By legalizing the transportation and dispensation of controlled substances, this legislation makes certain veterinarians are equipped with the tools they need and is particularly important for practitioners who work in rural areas, conduct research or respond to emergency situations."
AVMA says the bill has the support of more than 130 veterinary medical and other organizations. The House version of the bill has more than 140 cosponsors and is endorsed by the House Veterinary Medicine Caucus, led by veterinarians Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. and Ted Yoho, R-Fla.