Mobile Vet

For decades, veterinarians transporting certain medications to treat animals outside of their clinics have technically been breaking the law — until now. President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday a landmark amendment to the Controlled Substances Act called the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2014.

When Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, it made it illegal for doctors, including veterinarians, to distribute or dispense certain medications outside of registered locations — in most cases, vet clinics. As Dr. Marty Becker pointed out when the bill was introduced, "the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has essentially looked the other way for years."

Now, thanks to H.R. 1528, veterinarians need not worry that they’re breaking the law when they do something like taking pills to a remote farm for horses and cows, making house calls for euthanasia, and traveling with sedatives and pain medications in a mobile spay/neuter clinic. As long as a vet is licensed to practice in the state where he or she is traveling with these controlled substances, and is not taking them to "a principal place of business or professional practice" — say, another vet clinic — the vet won’t need to worry about being apprehended by the DEA.

So whether you’ve got a barn full of farm animals whom you can’t transport to a brick and mortar clinic or a sick cat who’s better off being treated in the comfort of his own home, breathe a sigh of relief that your veterinarian can now carry the medications that animals need without having to worry about the legal consequences.

To read more about the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, check out the AVMA’s news release and Dr. Marty Becker’s 2013 column on the proposed bill’s importance.

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