For veterinarians treating livestock in the field or making house calls to pets, traveling in vehicles outfitted with much of the equipment of a brick-and-mortar hospital is a given. Yet the legality of an essential component of mobile practice has been in question since 2012 when California veterinarians with mobile practices registered to their home addresses began receiving letters from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) warning that they were in violation of federal law for transporting controlled substances.
Legislation to clarify a murky facet of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed a congressional hurdle this month.
The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act would amend the law to exempt veterinarians from a provision that controlled drugs may not be transported from the address of the DEA registrant.
The House Subcommittee on Health passed HR 1528 to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 3, moving the bill one step closer to approval.
The Senate passed its version of the mobility act, S 1171, on Jan. 8.
Dr. Ashley Morgan, assistant director of the Governmental Relations Division of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), hopes the legislation will put an end to the mixed messages the veterinary profession has received from the DEA.
"We have seen conflicting statements from the DEA," said Morgan, referring to statements in the press and correspondence to congressional offices.