Regulatory Activity

Administrative Rule requiring prescriptions goes into effect August 27, 2016 

The Veterinary Board of Governors finalized a new rule, WAC 246-933-350, that will require veterinarians to provide clients a written prescription upon request. If a client under a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship requests it, the veterinarian must provide a written prescription, or call, fax, or electronically send the prescription to a licensed pharmacy of the client’s choosing. The new rule will provide pet owners flexibility and cost savings when obtaining medications for their pets.

Honoring a client’s request for a prescription in lieu of dispensing is a provision of the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) Principals of Veterinary Medical Ethics. Once adopted, Washington will join over 30 states that require veterinarians to provide a prescription when requested.

Proposed rule would add requirement for Rx expiration date 

The Veterinary Board of Governors is proposing to amend WAC 246-933-340 to include a drug expiration date in the list of labeling requirements for legend drugs dispensed by a veterinarian. Citing patient safety, the amendment will be consistent with the requirements of RCW 18.92.013 “Dispensing of drugs by registered or licensed personnel.” The amendment will also be with current pharmacy requirements. A public hearing will take place at the Veterinary Board of Governors meeting on September 19, 2016. For more information, contact Loralei Walker, program manager at Loralei.Walker@doh.wa.gov.

New VCPR definition takes effect June 4, 2016

The Veterinary Board of Governors has formally adopted rules that define the Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR), which is the basis for interaction between veterinarians, clients, and their patients.  Washington has been one of the few states lacking a legal definition of the VCPR, until now.

A valid VCPR exists when the veterinarian:

  • Has assumed responsibility for making clinical judgements about the patient, and the client or key party has agreed to follow the instructions of the veterinarian.
  • Has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to generate a preliminary diagnosis. For herd health, this can be done through examination of records, consultations with operations’ management personnel, and understanding of local epidemiology of diseases. Having sufficient knowledge means the veterinarian:
    • has examined the animal(s) in the last 12 months or sooner if appropriate
    • In cases involving operations with several animals, such as encountered at farms, laboratories, or in shelters, is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal(s) by virtue of an examination of the animal(s) or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept.
  • Is readily available for follow-up and continued care or has arranged for emergency coverage and continuing care and treatment.

Telemedicine

Establishing a VCPR telephonically or electronically is not allowed under the new definition. However, once a valid VCPR is in place, it can be maintained between medically necessary examinations via telephone or other types of consultations.

Dispensing and prescribing drugs

Veterinary prescription drugs can only be dispensed or prescribed within the context of a valid VCPR and as restricted by Federal Law 21 U.S.C. Sec. 353(f). You must have examined the animal within the prior 12 months or sooner as medically necessary. Extra label drug use is legal only under a valid VCPR.

Medical records

The rule states that medical records must be maintained as defined in WAC 246-933-320 (7).

Termination of VCPR

Veterinarians may terminate the VCPR as long as the termination does not constitute patient abandonment as described in WAC 246-933-060. If there is an ongoing medical or surgical condition, the patient should be referred to another veterinarian for diagnosis, care, and treatment. Clients, of course, can terminate the relationship at any time.

Food animals and the Veterinarian of Record

There must be a written agreement that identifies the veterinarian of record (VOR) who is accountable for drug use and treatments administered to animals on farm operations. The VOR is responsible for appropriate oversight of drug use on farm operations. Oversight includes:

  • establishment of diagnostic and treatment protocols
  • training of personnel
  • review of treatment records
  • monitoring drug inventories
  • assuring appropriate labeling of drugs
  • monitoring compliance and outcomes

Veterinary oversight of drug use must include all drugs used on the farm regardless of the distribution of the drugs to the farm. The provision of drugs must also be for specific time frames appropriate to the scope and type of the operation, and only where the VOR has direct involvement and oversight. Finally, a veterinarian issuing a veterinary feed directive (VFD) must comply with applicable federal law, including 21 C.F.R. 558.6.

The WSVMA advocated strongly for the new VCPR definition to address production animals because of the FDA’s increased oversight and more stringent requirements for veterinarians for drug residues found in food animals. Telemedicine is also a new frontier when working with clients and their animals and we wanted to ensure that the VCPR stipulated that initial examinations must be hands-on and not from a distance. For more information, download the complete rules. It’s also posted on the WSVMA website under Regulatory News.

International ketamine rescheduling under consideration– Comments due by Oct. 15

The World Health Organization (WHO) may be considering another proposed change to the international scheduling of ketamine, and the AVMA is seeking your help in asking the FDA to protect veterinarians’ access to this critical drug.

In April, the AVMA announced that the WHO had received a proposal from China to regulate ketamine hydrochloride as a Schedule 1 drug. The AVMA, in cooperation with the World Veterinary Association and the World Medical Association, advocated against this change because international regulation of ketamine as a Schedule 1 drug could mean that it would no longer be available to U.S. practitioners. As a result of those advocacy efforts, ketamine was not rescheduled at that time.

But this week, on Oct. 5, the FDA issued a request for comments regarding the abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking and impact of scheduling changes on the availability for medical use of 10 drug substances – including ketamine. The comments will be considered as FDA prepares a response to the WHO regarding the abuse liability and diversion of these drugs.

The AVMA is drafting a letter to the FDA that will outline how critical ketamine use is in veterinary medicine and how important it is that it remain available to U.S. veterinarians as we treat our patients. The profession’s voice is made stronger when it is joined by the voices of individual members.

Please consider writing to the FDA to explain how critical ketamine is in veterinary medicine and why it must remain available to veterinarians. The AVMA has created a template letter that will allow you to personalize your response to make more impact. Comments are due to the FDA by Oct. 15 – next week – and the FDA’s comments will be provided to the 37th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), which will meet in Geneva Nov. 16-20.

Among the information requested by WHO is the following:

  • Ketamine use in clinical settings – when is ketamine the anesthetic, sedative or analgesic agent of choice for any of the following: emergency situations; conducting procedures with pediatric patients; short surgical procedures; long surgical procedures; surgery conducted outside a hospital without respiratory support facilities; etc.
  • Veterinary therapeutic indications approved for ketamine (choices offered: anesthesia; pain management; sedation; no approved uses; other)
  • Current use of ketamine in medical or scientific research (including clinical trials)

Please submit your comments by Oct. 15 to the FDA regarding your professional use of ketamine and its importance to patient care. Detailed instructions for submitting comments either electronically or on paper can be found at the Federal Register’s website.

You may copy the AVMA on your comments to the FDA, as this can help guide them as they write their response. The AVMA will post our own letter with comments to the FDA on our website as soon as it’s completed.

Thank you in advance for helping us protect veterinarians’ ability to continue using ketamine to treat patients. Your voice will make ours even more powerful and effective in advocating on behalf of our member veterinarians and our patients.

International ketamine rescheduling under consideration– Comments due by Oct. 15

The World Health Organization (WHO) may be considering another proposed change to the international scheduling of ketamine, and the AVMA is seeking your help in asking the FDA to protect veterinarians’ access to this critical drug.

In April, the AVMA announced that the WHO had received a proposal from China to regulate ketamine hydrochloride as a Schedule 1 drug. The AVMA, in cooperation with the World Veterinary Association and the World Medical Association, advocated against this change because international regulation of ketamine as a Schedule 1 drug could mean that it would no longer be available to U.S. practitioners. As a result of those advocacy efforts, ketamine was not rescheduled at that time.

But this week, on Oct. 5, the FDA issued a request for comments regarding the abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking and impact of scheduling changes on the availability for medical use of 10 drug substances – including ketamine. The comments will be considered as FDA prepares a response to the WHO regarding the abuse liability and diversion of these drugs.

The AVMA is drafting a letter to the FDA that will outline how critical ketamine use is in veterinary medicine and how important it is that it remain available to U.S. veterinarians as we treat our patients. The profession’s voice is made stronger when it is joined by the voices of individual members.

Please consider writing to the FDA to explain how critical ketamine is in veterinary medicine and why it must remain available to veterinarians. The AVMA has created a template letter that will allow you to personalize your response to make more impact. Comments are due to the FDA by Oct. 15 – next week – and the FDA’s comments will be provided to the 37th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), which will meet in Geneva Nov. 16-20.

Among the information requested by WHO is the following:

  • Ketamine use in clinical settings – when is ketamine the anesthetic, sedative or analgesic agent of choice for any of the following: emergency situations; conducting procedures with pediatric patients; short surgical procedures; long surgical procedures; surgery conducted outside a hospital without respiratory support facilities; etc.
  • Veterinary therapeutic indications approved for ketamine (choices offered: anesthesia; pain management; sedation; no approved uses; other)
  • Current use of ketamine in medical or scientific research (including clinical trials)

Please submit your comments by Oct. 15 to the FDA regarding your professional use of ketamine and its importance to patient care. Detailed instructions for submitting comments either electronically or on paper can be found at the Federal Register’s website.

You may copy the AVMA on your comments to the FDA, as this can help guide them as they write their response. The AVMA will post our own letter with comments to the FDA on our website as soon as it’s completed.

Thank you in advance for helping us protect veterinarians’ ability to continue using ketamine to treat patients. Your voice will make ours even more powerful and effective in advocating on behalf of our member veterinarians and our patients.

International ketamine rescheduling under consideration– Comments due by Oct. 15

The World Health Organization (WHO) may be considering another proposed change to the international scheduling of ketamine, and the AVMA is seeking your help in asking the FDA to protect veterinarians’ access to this critical drug.

In April, the AVMA announced that the WHO had received a proposal from China to regulate ketamine hydrochloride as a Schedule 1 drug. The AVMA, in cooperation with the World Veterinary Association and the World Medical Association, advocated against this change because international regulation of ketamine as a Schedule 1 drug could mean that it would no longer be available to U.S. practitioners. As a result of those advocacy efforts, ketamine was not rescheduled at that time.

But this week, on Oct. 5, the FDA issued a request for comments regarding the abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking and impact of scheduling changes on the availability for medical use of 10 drug substances – including ketamine. The comments will be considered as FDA prepares a response to the WHO regarding the abuse liability and diversion of these drugs.

The AVMA is drafting a letter to the FDA that will outline how critical ketamine use is in veterinary medicine and how important it is that it remain available to U.S. veterinarians as we treat our patients. The profession’s voice is made stronger when it is joined by the voices of individual members.

Please consider writing to the FDA to explain how critical ketamine is in veterinary medicine and why it must remain available to veterinarians. The AVMA has created a template letter that will allow you to personalize your response to make more impact. Comments are due to the FDA by Oct. 15 – next week – and the FDA’s comments will be provided to the 37th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD), which will meet in Geneva Nov. 16-20.

Among the information requested by WHO is the following:

  • Ketamine use in clinical settings – when is ketamine the anesthetic, sedative or analgesic agent of choice for any of the following: emergency situations; conducting procedures with pediatric patients; short surgical procedures; long surgical procedures; surgery conducted outside a hospital without respiratory support facilities; etc.
  • Veterinary therapeutic indications approved for ketamine (choices offered: anesthesia; pain management; sedation; no approved uses; other)
  • Current use of ketamine in medical or scientific research (including clinical trials)

Please submit your comments by Oct. 15 to the FDA regarding your professional use of ketamine and its importance to patient care. Detailed instructions for submitting comments either electronically or on paper can be found at the Federal Register’s website.

You may copy the AVMA on your comments to the FDA, as this can help guide them as they write their response. The AVMA will post our own letter with comments to the FDA on our website as soon as it’s completed.

Thank you in advance for helping us protect veterinarians’ ability to continue using ketamine to treat patients. Your voice will make ours even more powerful and effective in advocating on behalf of our member veterinarians and our patients.

Proposed changes to sexual misconduct rules

The Veterinary Board of Governors is considering revising  WAC 246-934-020 definitions and  WAC 246-934-100 to clarify that forcible or nonconsensual acts are within the definition of sexual misconduct. The board will also review the rules for relevance to the veterinary professions which may result in amendment of current language. The current rule does not address sexual misconduct by a provider regulated by the board against a person other than a patient, client or key party, such as sexual harassment of staff, or sexual assaults against family members, social acquaintances or strangers. Amending WAC 246-934-100 will provide clearer and more relevant direction to veterinary practitioners on guidelines for sexual misconduct. To submit comments, contact Judy Haenke at the Veterinary Board of Governors at (360) 236-4947.

Rulemaking underway to require prescriptions upon client request

The Veterinary Board of Governors issued notification this week of a draft rule that once passed, will require veterinarians to provide a prescription to the client if they ask, as long it’s under a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship. The draft rule will allow the veterinarian to call, fax or electronically send in the prescription to a licensed pharmacy if the client requests it. Once adopted, Washington will join 21 other states that require veterinarians to provide a prescription when requested, and an additional 10 states include it in their discipline standards.

Comments on the rule are being accepted during the initial CR-101 phase of the rulemaking process through February 20, 2015 and will be discussed at the Veterinary Board of Governors meeting on March 9, 2015 in Tumwater. Send comments to Judy Haenke via email or to Veterinary Board of Governors, Department of Health, P. O. Box 47852, Olympia WA 98504-7852.

CE credit and criteria for complementary medicine to be examined

In response to an increase in the number of veterinarians seeking credit for complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) courses, the Veterinary Board of Governors is considering rulemaking to establish the criteria for review of CAVM offerings for CE credit. Rules that define CAVM can assist the board in its review and clarify the requirements to the licensees and to the providers of the education. They’re also proposing to limit the number of credit hours that can be earned in CAVM to ten hours in a three-year reporting period.

The proposed rule will be discussed at the Veterinary Board of Governors meeting on March 9, 2015.  The meeting will be held at the Department of Health, 111 Israel Road SE, Town Center Building Two, Room 145, Tumwater, WA 98501. Comments should be sent to Judy Haenke no later than February 20, 2015.

Hydrocodone-containing products becoming Schedule II drugs

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has put into place new requirements for hydrocodone-containing products (HCPs). Effective October 6, 2014, all HCPs will become Schedule II drugs. Currently, some HCPs are Schedule II controlled drugs and some fall under Schedule III. HCPs are used in veterinary hospitals to help control coughing in dogs and to manage pain.

For prescribers, a new prescription will be required for all hydrocodone products prescribed after October 5, 2014. No refills will be allowed, similar to other Schedule II drugs. The DEA will allow pharmacies to dispense HCP refills on prescriptions if the prescription was issued prior to October 6, 2014 and the dispensing refill occurs before the expiration date, not to exceed April 8, 2015.

According to the WA Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission, a practitioner may provide individual patients with multiple prescriptions for hydrocodone substance to be filled sequentially. The combined effect of these multiple prescriptions is to allow the patient to receive, over time, up to a 90-day supply of that controlled substance. Each prescription issued is for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the usual course of his/her professional practice. The individual practitioner must provide written instructions on each prescription indicating the earliest date on which a pharmacy may fill each prescription.

All DEA registrants will have to use official DEA Form 222c to order or transfer any hydrocodone products, rather than simple invoices or packing slips.

As with all Schedule II – V controlled drugs, dispensing of greater than 14 days’ supply must be reported to the Prescription Monitoring Program.

For more information, see DEA’s Final Rule for more details or contact the WA Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission at (360) 236-4834.

DEA approves easier methods of disposing controlled drugs

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced earlier this week that beginning October 9, 2014, practitioners and their clients will have more options for secure disposal of controlled substances. New convenient disposal methods that clients can use will include mail-back programs, authorized take-back events and collection receptacle locations. The DEA’s new rules are aimed at reducing the prescription drug abuse epidemic by getting drugs out of homes safely.

According to the AVMA, what will impact practitioners directly is the deletion of the existing rule, 21 CFR 1307.21 and the creation of similar requirements in new part 1317 on proper disposal and security. The new rules will maintain existing disposal practices for registrants and in addition, authorize prompt on-site destruction; prompt delivery of controlled substances to a reverse distributor; and prompt delivery (for the purposes of return and recall) to the person from whom the controlled substance was obtained, the manufacturer, or a registrant authorized to accept returns on the manufacturer’s behalf.

The AVMA will be updating their online information on waste disposal and unwanted meds. For more information, visitavma.org.

Window Closing for LVT’s to take the Test for Licensure

The current law allowing people to apply for veterinary technician licensure based on experience is scheduled to expire next year. Those who are applying for veterinary technician licensure in this manner must complete all the requirements before the law changes.

Effective July 1, 2015, a veterinary technician license may be issued only to a person who has successfully completed an accredited program approved by the Veterinary Board of Governors and who has met other examination and application requirements.

Applicants who have applied for licensure based on five years of acceptable practical experience must complete all application and payment requirements at the WA State Department of Health (DOH) website, successfully complete the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) and become licensed prior to July 1, 2015.

Important Dates:

To be licensed before July 1, 2015, applicants must successfully complete the VTNE no later than the March 15, 2015 through April 15, 2015 administration. The deadline to apply for the March 15, 2015 through April 15, 2015 testing window is February 15, 2015. Applicants should contact the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) to confirm testing dates and deadlines.

Applicants should submit veterinary technician licensure applications to the WA State Department of Health by December 15, 2014 to allow application processing time to meet the February 15, 2015 deadline. Trainees must complete all tasks and procedures required to apply for the veterinary technician license and submit that information with the veterinary technician licensure application by December 15, 2014, to allow for application processing time to meet the February 15, 2015 deadline.

For more information contact the Department of Health Customer Service Center at (360) 236-4700, Veterinary Credentialing at (360) 236-4989 or Judy Haenke, Program Manager, at (360) 236-4947.

Changes with tramadol and tramadol containing drugs

As reported last week, effective August 18, 2014, tramadol and products containing tramadol will be classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance pursuant to 21 CFR 1308. While federal law has changed, Washington state law must still go through rulemaking to include tramadol in the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). Although it’s not yet required, WA veterinarians are asked to voluntarily report to the PMP the dispensing of greater than fourteen-day supplies of tramadol and products containing tramadol after August 18 until such time that the Department of Health completes rulemaking. In addition, inventory of current stock must be taken on August 18, 2014 of all tramadol and other tramadol-containing products and entered into controlled drug logs.

The following considerations must be made for prescriptions of tramadol and products containing tramadol:

  • All current prescriptions for tramadol and products containing tramadol must be treated as controlled substance prescriptions on and after August 18, 2014.
  • Prior to filling/refilling a tramadol prescription on or after August 18, 2014, ensure that the prescriber has a valid DEA registration, as required for all controlled substance prescriptions. All prescribers who do not have a valid DEA registration will not be able to issue prescriptions or personally furnish tramadol or tramadol containing products.
  • If a precription for a tramadol product was issued prior to August 18, 2014 and refills were authorized, as of August 18, 2014 those refills must be limited to no more than five and must be dispensed no later than six months after the date the prescription was initially issued.
  • No electronic prescriptions for tramadol or products containing tramadol may be sent to a pharmacy using an electronic prescription transmission system unless the prescriber’s and the receiving pharmacy’s systems meet the DEA authenticated system requirements addressed in 21 CFR 1311.

For more information, contact your local DEA office.

DEA marks tramadol as Schedule IV drug

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published its decision to schedule tramadol a Schedule IV controlled substance, effective August 18, 2014. The DEA conducted an eight-month analysis and determined that tramadol has a low potential for abuse and limited physical dependence relative to Schedule III drugs, but still recognizes it as an opiate capable of triggering addictions similar to morphine. Tramadol is used for pain management in dogs and cats.

Washington veterinarians must start reporting the dispensing of greater than fourteen-day supplies of tramadol as a Schedule IV drug to the Prescription Monitoring Program beginning August 18. For reports being submitted by October 10 that cover July through September, include the appropriate dispensing that takes place between August 18 and September 30.

For more information and to find out how making tramadol a schedule IV drug could affect availability, visit the AVMA website.

Deadlines to comply with Washington’s new hazard communication rules differ from OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently revised the Hazard Communication Standard in order to improve comprehension of hazard information found on product labels. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) will replace the current Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), which will more effectively prevent injuries and make it safer for workers to do their jobs.
The federal deadline for compliance to train employees is December 1, 2013. In Washington, however, the WA Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), doesn’t require compliance to begin until June 1, 2014. WISHA supersedes OSHA for all but federal workers.

But that doesn’t mean you should wait to prepare.

Major changes to the hazard communication standard include the following four areas:

  1. Hazard Classification: For each chemical, the chemical manufacturer or importer must determine the hazard classes, and where appropriate, the category of each class that applies to the chemical being classified. Employers are not required to classify chemicals unless they choose not to rely on the manufacturer’s classification.
  2. Labels: The information on labels will become more standardized to increase employee comprehension of the potential hazards and precautions. New labels will feature hazard pictograms, a signal word such as “danger,” hazard and precautionary statements and both a product and supplier identifier.
  3. Safety Data Sheets: The new standard will have a specified 16-section format and replace what is currently known as a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
  4. Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by June 1, 2014 on the new label elements and SDS format to facilitate recognition and understanding.

Written Hazardous Drug Control Program

The written hazardous drugs control program must be created with input from workers and address the following elements as applicable to the facility:

  • A written inventory of hazardous drugs in the workplace.
  • A current hazard assessment for the hazardous drugs.
  • Hazardous drugs policies and procedures that cover, but are not limited to:
    • Engineering controls (equipment use and maintenance)
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Safe handling practices
    • Cleaning, housekeeping, and waste handling
    • Spill control
    • Personnel issues (such as exposure of pregnant workers)
    • Training
Prescription Monitoring Program data collection resumes July 1

Veterinarians that dispense Schedules II, III, IV, and V controlled substances in Washington State, or send such substances to an address in the state, must resume reporting to the WA PMP. Data collection resumes July 1, 2013 and covers data through September 30, 2013, with the first report due October 10, 2013. Reports can be submitted with previously established accounts through Health Information Designs (HID), Inc.

What’s New in 2013

  • Quarterly reporting (used to be weekly)
  • Reporting a greater-than-14-day supply of Schedule II, III, IV and V controlled substances (use to be more than one day supply)
  • Report fewer data fields
  • Submit report electronically or by paper (used to be only electronic)

RCW 70.225, authorized the Washington State Department of Health to establish the Washington State Prescription Monitoring Program. Pharmacies and practitioners that dispense any Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances must report dispensing to the PMP. Mandatory reporting began on October 7, 2011.

WSVMA’s Substitute Senate Bill 6105 (2012 Legislation) was signed into law on March 29, 2012. The law required the Department of Health to work with the Veterinary Board of Governors to establish alternative data reporting requirements for veterinarians by either electronic or non-electronic methods. Final rules to implement these changes became effective June 28, 2013. The first reporting period for veterinarians under the new rule will be July 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2013. The report for this period will be due no later than Oct. 10, 2013 based on the new quarterly schedule outlined in the rule. Veterinarians are required to report the dispensing of controlled substances (Schedule II-V) and drugs identified by the board of pharmacy under WAC 246-470-020, dispensed for more than a fourteen day supply.

Learn More About PMP
Important law change for controlled substances

In addition to the resumption of the Prescription Monitoring Program, another change to controlled substance laws takes place at the end of the month. Effective July 28, 2013, all Schedule III through V controlled substances must be dispensed pursuant to a written, oral, or electronically transmitted prescription. The law states that “any oral prescription must be promptly reduced to writing.”

Senate Bill 5416 amended RCW 69.50.308 Prescriptions, and supersedes WAC 246-887-030, which allows for the dispensing of certain Schedule V drugs without a prescription. The new requirements provide an exception to practitioners who administer the drug directly to the patient.

The amended law also requires that a prescription for a Schedule III through V drug may not be filled or refilled more than six months after the date issued by the practitioner, or be refilled more than five times unless renewed by the practitioner.

For more information, contact the WA Board of Pharmacy at (360) 236-4834.

As a reminder, data collection for the Prescription Monitoring Program resumes this month with the first report due October 10, 2013. For complete information on changes to the Prescription Monitoring Program, visit the WSVMA website.

USDA Issues Final Rule for Animal Disease Traceability

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2012
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a final rule establishing general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate.

“With the final rule announced today, the United States now has a flexible, effective animal disease traceability system for livestock moving interstate, without undue burdens for ranchers and U.S. livestock businesses,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The final rule meets the diverse needs of the countryside where states and tribes can develop systems for tracking animals that work best for them and their producers, while addressing any gaps in our overall disease response efforts. Over the past several years, USDA has listened carefully to America’s farmers and ranchers, working collaboratively to establish a system of tools and safeguards that will help us target when and where animal diseases occur, and help us respond quickly.”

Under the final rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates.

After considering the public comments received, the final rule has several differences from the proposed rule issued in August 2011. These include:

  • Accepting the use of brands, tattoos and brand registration as official identification when accepted by the shipping and receiving States or Tribes
  • Permanently maintaining the use of backtags as an alternative to official eartags for cattle and bison moved directly to slaughter
  • Accepting movement documentation other than an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) for all ages and classes of cattle when accepted by the shipping and receiving States or Tribes
  • Clarifying that all livestock moved interstate to a custom slaughter facility are exempt from the regulations
  • Exempting chicks moved interstate from a hatchery from the official identification requirements

Beef cattle under 18 months of age, unless they are moved interstate for shows, exhibitions, rodeos, or recreational events, are exempt from the official identification requirement in this rule. These specific traceability requirements for this group will be addressed in separate rulemaking, allowing APHIS to work closely with industry to ensure the effective implementation of the identification requirements.

For more specific details about the regulation and how it will affect producers, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability.

Animal disease traceability, or knowing where diseased and at-risk animals are, where they’ve been, and when, is very important to ensure a rapid response when animal disease events take place. An efficient and accurate animal disease traceability system helps reduce the number of animals involved in an investigation, reduces the time needed to respond, and decreases the cost to producers and the government.

This notice is expected to be published in the December 28, 2013 Federal Register.