As we announced last week, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy plans to refile two rule packets in the near future: One deals with veterinary clinics; the other deals with animal shelters. Over the last few months, OVMA has been working diligently to improve these proposals. Thus far, we have been successful in persuading the pharmacy board to make the following changes:
- The original draft of the rule required all prescriptions leaving the clinic to be in “tamper-evident” packaging, but the term was not defined this properly. OVMA was able to convince the board to remove the overly broad reference to “tamper-evident.”
- OVMA persuaded the pharmacy board to add the option of using a temperature-monitoring device for refrigerated meds—rather than having to log the temperature every single day of the year, as the original draft stipulated. The original proposed rules only allowed for a daily log.
- The pharmacy board also changed language regarding the storage of dangerous and controlled drugs, which OVMA conveyed would be costly and unnecessary.
- Language that treated drugs containing propofol and gabapentin as controlled substances has been removed.
- Changes were made to allow for an owner/caregiver to verbally refuse consultation regarding a prescription.
- OVMA was able to change language in the proposed rule requiring positive identification before any prescription drug is personally furnished; now the proposed rule requires this only for controlled substances.
- Language requiring you to record who, within the clinic, administered a non-controlled drug within the patient record has been nixed.
- The pharmacy board has clarified or removed proposed language that conflicted with current veterinary law, as well as made a number of tweaks to make the rules more applicable to veterinary medicine. (For example, changing references from “animal” to “animal or animals.”)
As you can see, OVMA has been an extremely active participant in reviewing and improving these rule packets, and undoubtedly the rules packets have improved for the better. That being said, however, there are still a couple areas of concern:
- Pending rules state that a prescription pad can only be accessible by a veterinarian—meaning that, if you keep your prescription pads in your controlled substances safe, the pads will need to be stored in either a separate safe or locked within your controlled substance safe.
- Pending rules also state that once a multi-dose vial has been punctured, the drugs must be discarded after 28 days (unless the manufacturer states otherwise).
Progress has been made in the purposed shelter rules regarding the unique nature of volunteer work and ownership of the animal. OVMA is currently working with shelters to improve this packet.
Want to weigh in? As we stated last week, the public hearing on these rules is July 18. OVMA will be there to testify on your behalf, but we could use your help! Would you be willing to submit written comments or testify in person? If so, please email David Frash at [email protected].
We previously reported on another pending rule packet that deals with the temporary removal of “dangerous drugs” to treat animals off site (e.g., on a farm). OVMA has been engaged in discussions with the pharmacy board regarding these rules and has seen some improvement, which we will report on soon.
Over the weekend, the General Assembly was not able to iron out differences between the chambers for the state’s two-year operating budget. Late Saturday night, the Senate passed a stopgap measure to continue the SYF19 spending levels for 17 days, and late Sunday night, the House agreed and Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into law. As such, OVMA currently does not have a budget update, but we will continue to update Grassroots Club members as the situation develops.
Now that the stopgap has been passed, the General Assembly will go into summer recess—meaning that, while the budget negotiations will continue for now, all other legislative work will be put on hold. During this period, the regulatory process will continue.
We expect this summer to be busy, and we must keep our foot on the pedal if we are to keep pace with the activity.
Animal abuse reporting bill undergoes changes
In its original form, H.B. 33 required veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse and offered civil and criminal immunity for making such reports in good faith. The legislation also included a civil penalty or fine for failure to report: $100 for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense.
Over the last two General Assemblies, OVMA has been engaged with Reps. Laura Lanese (R. Gove-City) and Sarah Carruthers (R- Hamilton), the sponsors of H.B. 33, in an attempt to improve the legislation. We are pleased to announce that our efforts have finally paid off.
In OVMA’s discussions with the sponsors, we stressed that, as the medical professionals entrusted by society to care for animals, no one is more motivated or empowered to stop animal abuse. Furthermore, veterinarians fully understand the link between animal and human abuse and take the responsibility of identifying and reporting suspected cases of abuse and neglect seriously. However, it is not always clear if an animal has been abused, or if the injury or illness is accidental or unintentional.
As a result of our conversations with the and other interested parties, the House Criminal Justice Committee recently accepted an amendment to make the following modifications:
- The penalty for a first offense of failure to report has been changed from a civil penalty to a written warning issued by the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board.
- Such warnings shall remain confidential, and the board may not take any other disciplinary action for a first offense.
At this time OVMA continues to be an interested party; we will continue to monitor this legislation and report back with any developments.
Vet. Nurse Initiative gains momentum
S.B. 131 had sponsor testimony last week in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. While committee hearings are not scheduled to start back up until early September, the summer provides us a unique opportunity to build support for this important legislation. If you have not already done so, please click below to contact your state senator and voice your support.
Legislators are on break… but we aren’t!
While the members of the House and Senate head back to their districts for summer break, we are increasing our efforts to build up our V-PAC coffers in preparation for their return in the fall.
Any level of investment helps us get closer to our mid-year fundraising goal of $10,000. Giving $100, $50, or even $25 will go a long way. If every single Grassroots Club member invests $25 today, we will be well on our way to surpassing our goal!
V-PAC is a powerful resource that allows us to broaden our reach at the Statehouse. A healthy V-PAC fund gives OVMA better tools to speak on behalf of you, your practice, patients, clients, and the profession as a whole—thus guaranteeing veterinarians a louder voice in the public policy arena.
Although no donation is required to be a member of the Grassroots Club, we hope that you, as our most passionate supporters, would help us kick off the fundraiser by contributing early. Any amount truly helps!
Remember, the purpose of V-PAC is to allow us to support those elected officials who consistently listen to the veterinary perspective on key issues.
As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or if you need assistance with your contribution.
Please note, Ohio election laws prohibit V-PAC from accepting corporate checks and debit/credit cards. Only personal checks and debit/credit cards and those of unincorporated business entities (e.g., sole proprietors, partnerships, etc.) are allowed by law.