The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take up a bill this week that would allow veterinarians to transport controlled substances into the field when treating livestock and pets.

The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, HR 1528, would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to allow vets to transport and dispense controlled drugs during the usual course of their practice when they are away from the address that is registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The House will consider the legislation Tuesday under suspension of the rules, which is a procedure generally used to quickly pass noncontroversial bills.

The legality of transporting and dispensing medications has been in question since 2012 when California vets with mobile practices registered to their home addresses received letters from the DEA warning that they were in violation of federal law.

The CSA prohibits those with a DEA license from transporting controlled substances - including drugs used for pain control, as well as most drugs used for anesthesia and euthanasia. The proposed amendment exempts veterinarians from this restriction by adding the following paragraph to the law: "... a registrant who is a veterinarian shall not be required to have a separate registration in order to transport and dispense controlled substances in the usual course of veterinary practice at a site other than the registrant's registered principal place of business or professional practice, so long as the site of transporting and dispensing is located in a state where the veterinarian is licensed to practice veterinary medicine and is not a principal place of business or professional practice."

The Senate passed its version of the mobility act, S 1171, on Jan. 8.