Veterinary organizations are hailing passage of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act in the U.S. House of Representatives this week with broad bi-partisan support. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed its version of the act, which is virtually identical to the House version, on January 8.

Passage of the bill will make it legal for veterinarians to transport and use controlled substances beyond their primary places of registration and across state lines to treat their animal patients. Previously, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has indicated that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) barred veterinarians from taking controlled substances beyond their registered locations, such as their clinics, which limits medical decisions and treatment options for veterinarians who work in the field.

The House bill, which passed unanimously, was sponsored by Representatives Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), both of whom are veterinarians, and the Senate bill was sponsored by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Angus King (I-Maine).

Veterinary organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) helped rally support for the bill and worked to educate Congress and the public about the importance of veterinarians having access to the necessary tools to treat and care for their patients. “We could not have made it this far without the help of our members and allied groups,” says AVMA president Clark Fobian, DVM. “AVMA’s members have been rallying together in an urgent call to action—sending more than 27,000 letters to their members of Congress in support of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act. We also have been joined by over 130 veterinary medical and other organizations who have endorsed this bill.”

Because the House and Senate versions of the bill are virtually identical, there is no need for a congressional conference committee to iron out differences and draft a compromise bill. The Senate will just need to submit the bill to the President for his signature before the congressional session ends on December 12.

“Today is a victory for veterinarians across this country, but more importantly, it's a victory for the health and well-being of the animals they are entrusted to care for,” says Rep. Schrader. “Ridiculous bureaucratic interference from the DEA would have seriously impeded veterinarians' ability to properly treat their patients. The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will provide veterinarians with the certainty they need to continue to providing mobile or ambulatory services for their animal patients.”

Read more about the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act from AVMA.