Pet medication hearing: AVMA testimony strives to protect, advance veterinary interests


AVMA Board Chair Dr. John de Jong

Dr. John de Jong, chair of the AVMA Board of Directors, addressed members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee Friday during a hearing about the pet medication industry. The hearing was live-streamed, and a recorded session is available. (Dr. de Jong’s testimony begins at roughly the 2:26 mark of the video.) You can also read Dr. de Jong’s full testimony that was submitted to the subcommittee, as well as the AVMA’s press release.

Although the hearing was focused on the pet medication industry, the driving forces behind it are two federal bills (H.R.3174 and S.1200) that mandate prescription writing for pet medications. Although we agree with the bills’ stated intent to help consumers save money and provide freedom of choice, we oppose the legislation because veterinarians already do these things. The majority of veterinarians already provide prescriptions upon request – it’s included in our Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, and 36 states have laws, regulations, or policies that require veterinarians to provide their clients with a written prescription upon request. This federal legislation is simply not necessary and would take time away from the veterinarian’s real task – providing the best care for their patients – to spend on burdensome paperwork. If you agree, please take a moment to contact your senators and representatives to tell them how you feel. To learn more about why we oppose this legislation, visit our “Just Ask” page.

This is but one example of the AVMA’s advocacy efforts to protect veterinarians and advance veterinary medicine. We’ve also advocated, and will continue to advocate, for continued access to medications such as ketamine and compounded drugs; legislation to reduce the student loan burden; animal health and welfare issues; and small business issues affecting veterinary practices. Our advocacy work also resulted in introduction and passage of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which allows veterinarians to legally transport controlled substances across state lines in the course of practicing veterinary medicine.

As the collective voice of the veterinary profession, we will continue to advocate on our members’ behalf to protect, promote and advance the veterinary profession.

5 thoughts on “Pet medication hearing: AVMA testimony strives to protect, advance veterinary interests

  1. I have observed this so called profession of Veterinarian medicine for a lifetime coming from ranch life I am very familiar with animals and these matters. The past 10 years have been devoted to extensive research and efforts with the Texas systems in these matters. We have also found these issues in all states.

    Please take a glimpse into the real truth available on Bo’s website what is revealed there will astound you. What the world has is legal/illegal drug traffic I take these many issues/matters before The Sunset Commission of Texas this year. The problem is will they actually look into it? Power and money have a way of sticking together and is protection in it’s highest form…..
    They can have’/stock any drug on their premises are not controlled as Hospitals, or Medical Doctors are. They can and do sell drugs out the back door to persons who don’t even own an animal. This is a National problem not simply TEXAS…protected by Boards and The AVMA ~ “American Veterinary Medical Association ”

    For some reason if the title of “ Doctor “ is before a persons name they are guiltless unquestioned in all matters. A pillar of Society, of course. Like the Wizard of Oz they hide behind this curtain.. So what we have is LEGAL ~ ILLEGAL drug traffic coming from an unexpected source, by law enforcement, again I state on a National level. The only credit I see to Veterinary drugs is that they are more pure than those used for humans, thus very sought after by those who are knowledgably astute.

    Does this concern only animals, “no” my depth with drug activity started with the murder of my brother in 1982, he was going to reveal his knowledge of traffic and paid the price with his life. My final promise to him is to open all doors I see with profit in these endeavors. The Mafia of the 30s didn’t have such a perfect plan….is my summation.

  2. My letter to my very “Blue” Representative:

    May 5, 2016

    Congresswoman Debbie Dingell
    116 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, D.C. 20515

    Re: Fairness to Pet Owners H.R 3174

    Dear Congresswoman Dingell:

    I am a practicing veterinarian since January 2, 1969. I have observed many changes in practice models over the years. One truth remains above all else – to survive a business must remain in the black. Raise taxes, implement regulations, burden us with paper work – it is all overhead and the consumers pay for it. The fear most veterinarians have is that income will be lost when prescriptions are mandated. It won’t take long for fee increases to make up for lost revenues. So who really “wins” with this “Fairness to Pet Owners HB 3174’? Perhaps pharmacies that stock veterinary prescription drugs are the winners. Who loses? The pet owner with increased veterinary fees and the inconvenience of pharmacy shopping.

    Clearly Congress has nothing better to do than muddle in the affairs of private enterprise. In the health care industry veterinary medicine provides the same services as found in human medicine for a tenth of the cost. We are an exemplary industry providing veterinary health care for all levels of income. I do not understand why Congress feels the need to micromanage yet another business arena. Obviously Congress does not understand how small business works.

    All too often it is the unintended consequences of legislation that has the opposite intended effect.

    You can’t say you weren’t warned.

    Ben H. Colmery III DVM

  3. I think that the Congress and state legislatures do not understand veterinary medicine and how veterinarians relate to their clients and patients.

    We keep medications in stock in our hospitals because it if often necessary to treat a patient right then and there without the client having to travel to a pharmacy to get the needed medication. If they have to go yet somewhere else to get medication the question is will they do it. I find that at least 25% or more of my clients do not go get the medicine they ask me to prescribe. I have checked with them a few days later or the next day dependent on the condition of their pet only to find they did not go get the medication…EVEN WHEN THEY ASKED ME FOR A PRESCRIPTION!

    I do not know why any of MY representatives want to decrease my business revenue with a bill like this? It makes no sense at all for them to interfere in my business. Veterinarians for the most part are small businesses with narrow margins of profit it any profit at all! Why would MY representatives to the various bodies of government want my business to fail? I pay lots of taxes! Those taxes pay for the government to run…so why are they trying to cut of an avenue of revenue for my business?

    Perhaps we need to look at why the particular person who is pushing this bill is doing so? Did he have a bad experience at a veterinarian? Did he/she think his/her vet charged to much for medication?

    And why are Costco and other pharmacies carrying veterinary medications???? Why are the companies who sell them to us selling them to these places?

    Further more when a client gets animal medications from Costco, for example, Costco charges tax on that medication. When we asked why they said it was because it was an animal???? That makes no sense what so ever since they don’t charge tax on human medications (maybe they do and it is hidden in the price??) Is it because they have to pay tax on those meds or it si just to make more money for Costco or is there some regulation somewhere governing this tax situation?

    I agree, also with Dr. Smith above when he says that often human pharmacist do not understand anything about veterinary medicine and often call our office asking to speak to me about why I prescribed what they consider a huge dose of medicine for a dog or cat (huge by human standards). I try to explain about animals metabolic rates being higher than humans and often they need higher doses and also much research has gone into finding out what doses are proper for veterinary patients…I am afraid that information goes right over their head or they just don’t believe me. Some times it takes me a while to convince I actually know what I am doing after 34 years in practice!

  4. One thing that I’m not sure gets emphasized and it should is human pharmacy’s lack of knowledge regarding pet prescriptions. We have all had times that pharmacists have changed prescriptions or questionsed dosing with having no medical basis or even a Veterinary formulary in their possession. This is an animal safety issue, not just a financial one and that needs to be emphasized.