Last spring, veterinarians in California received notification from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that the transportation of controlled substances outside of their site of registration (i.e., clinic) violates the Controlled Substances Act. As reported by the Daily Racing Forum, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners “are among groups backing an exemption for veterinarians in light of the DEA’s more aggressive stance toward mobile veterinary use of controlled drugs.”
According to Dr. Ashley Morgan, the AVMA’s assistant director for governmental relations, simply registering every patient’s facility may not be enough. According to Dr. Morgan, “[t]echnically, that’s not where the drugs are sent and kept under lock and key . . . [i]f the DEA shows up at whichever farm, there’s not a lockbox or safe there with the drugs and record-keeping.”
This regulatory interpretation by the federal government could present a problem for veterinarians who travel to their patients (i.e., horses at farms or race tracks) and need to carry certain emergency drugs with them. While no veterinarians outside of California have reported receiving these notifications, practitioners and the industry groups which represent veterinarians are seeking clarification through either a legislative or regulatory change.