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Assist with the passage of WSVMA’s House Bill 2288

Find Your Legislator: Input your home address using the Washington State Legislature’s search tool to determine your legislators.

Write or call your state representative and use the WSVMA’s talking points to tell them why it’s important that House Bill 2288 is passed. Substitute Senate Bill 6105 has already passed the Senate. Tip: It’s helpful to include your own words to describe the importance of exempting veterinarians from the Prescription Monitoring Program.

Download PDF of WSVMA Legislation Talking Points

Tell Your Legislator:

Please Support HB2288 exempting veterinarians from the data submission requirements of the Prescription Monitoring Program.

This proposed legislation exempts veterinarians from the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) administered by the Department of Health (DOH). The PMP requires practitioners to report weekly the dispensing of certain drugs. The purpose of the program is patient safety, but as you will see below, the PMP provides no benefit to veterinary patient safety, yet imposes very real costs on veterinary practices. DOH is not opposed to this legislation.

  • “Doctor-hopping” is not an issue in veterinary practices—The illegal act known as “doctor-hopping” occurs when a patient accesses more than one medical care provider at a time and asks each to prescribe the same or similar medication. This activity most often involves opiates and other pain medications (DEA Schedules II, III, and IV). There are essentially no cases of “vet-hopping” in Washington or other states (most notably Kansas and Tennessee which have conducted legislated examinations) when enforcement data is examined.
  • Animals are incapable of abusing drugs willingly, dosages dispensed are too low, and quantities are significantly smaller than those prescribed in human medicine—Veterinary “patients” (animals) do not abuse drugs. Dosages of controlled substances are typically too low to affect humans. Veterinarians typically assess therapeutic response and will know if their patients are ultimately receiving the drugs.
  • The PMP was written for physicians to report human patients, not animal patients—Many pharmaceuticals used in human medicine are NOT germane to veterinary medicine and vice-versa, adding to the cost of the program and diminishing any database value with unnecessary reports. A quick review of the DOH website confirms the program is written for human, not animal patients. “The program is a patient safety tool. Practitioners will have access to the information before they prescribe or dispense drugs. This will help to prevent overdoses, prevent misuse, and promote referrals for pain management and for treatment of addiction.”
  • Animal welfare and pain control may ultimately be compromised by pet owners who leave the veterinary setting without medication in-hand and fail to fill the prescription elsewhere— Many veterinary prescription drugs are not carried by most commercial pharmacies. Buprenex (brand name) or buprenorphine (generic) is a pain medication commonly used in treating cats, and is not carried by pharmacies. If veterinarians avoid certain pain treatments because of the cost and burden of additional reporting requirements, animals will suffer.
  • Veterinarians already report controlled substances to the DEA, have exemplary compliance, and rarely require enforcement— Law enforcement has unrestricted access to all existing controlled substance reports currently submitted by veterinarians. The PMP creates a whole new, duplicate, and unnecessary reporting burden for veterinarians that provides statistically no benefit.
  • The devastating recession and slow economy has negatively impacted veterinary practices, which operate almost exclusively as small businesses—The PMP is an unnecessary and duplicate mandate that will require most practices to immediately purchase computer hardware and software, technology upgrades, and additional human resources in order to comply.

It’s time for veterinarians and their staff to take action! If you don’t speak up, the Prescription Monitoring Program reporting requirements will continue.

For more information, contact the WSVMA.

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