New pharmacy rule package takes effect

An Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) regulatory package of veterinary clinic rules, which had been in the works for several months, officially took effect on March 1. While the rules are technically new, many are actually reorganized and/or retitled existing rule provisions.

While this rule package encompasses many aspects of drug security, control, use and records specific to veterinary facilities, it does not reflect all pharmacy rules that pertain to the practice of veterinary medicine.

Rules affecting all prescribers in OAC 4729:5-3-01 to 4729:5-3-16 apply, as do those relative to compounding and TDDD licensing. A draft reorganization of compounding rules remains a work in progress, so the existing rules found in 4729-16 are still in effect.

OVMA was actively involved on your behalf, commenting and requesting rewrites of many provisions, as well as opposing other new additions, as these rules worked their way through the regulatory process. Few are actually new in their broader context, and some of the rewrites reflect positive developments from the previous rule for veterinary facilities.  

Some of the changes include:

  • A prescriber “wet signature” verification prior to personally furnishing the same will no longer be required for all prescription drugs. Effective March 1, this requirement now only applies to controlled substance prescription drugs.
  • Multi-dose injectable medications must still be labeled with the initial date of puncture, but you do not have to dispose of any unused medication after 28 days—unless, in your medical judgement, it has become adulterated. The requirement to dispose after 28 days, regardless of degradation, was a component of OBP’s original proposal and had also been conveyed by some pharmacy inspectors.
  • A registered veterinary technician may temporarily be provided with a key to the controlled substance cabinet/lockbox/safe under the following circumstances: (1) a veterinarian is in the building, and (2) the key is returned at the end of their shift. (OBP has also issued a resolution that allows RVTs to access veterinarian-authorized controlled drugs for administration to patients undergoing treatment or boarding at the facility, in the event a veterinarian is not on the premises at the time.)
  • If a veterinary facility stores drugs in a refrigerator equipped with a temperature monitoring and alert system, it is no longer required to keep a log reflecting manual daily temperature checks.

OVMA is developing a master document that reflects pertinent pharmacy rules for veterinary facilities, as well as guidance for members who work with animal shelters (which have their own new rule package). These resources will be included in the March/April edition of the Observer and will also be available for download in the Members Only Center (Legal & Regulatory ❯ Drugs & Pharmacy) in mid-March.


No risk identified after pet dog quarantined for coronavirus

Last week, a dog in Hong Kong was quarantined after samples obtained from its nasal cavity and mouth tested “weak positive” for the virus that causes COVID-19. The dog’s owner had also tested positive for the virus.

Although the implications of a “weak positive” test result are unclear at this point, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can contract or spread COVID-19, and no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus.

Shutdowns in China may impact availability of medical supplies

In anticipation that the COVID-19 outbreak would likely impact the medical product supply chain, the Food and Drug Administration has been closely monitoring for potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the U.S.

There are 32 companies in China that make finished drugs for animals or source active pharmaceutical ingredients used in animal medications. The FDA has contacted all 32, and no shortages have been reported at this time. However, six of those companies have indicated that they are seeing disruptions in the supply chain, which could soon lead to shortages. The FDA is working with these companies to help identify possible steps that may mitigate potential shortages.

AVMA is supporting the FDA’s efforts by gathering information from veterinarians, practices/practice groups, and veterinary distributors. Veterinarians are encouraged to send information regarding any supply chain issues of concern to the AVMA at [email protected]. Detailed information on the product of concern and the manufacturer/distributor of that product will be most helpful.

Additional Resources


Ractopamine-free swine initiative establishes comprehensive plan

Recently, ractopamine-free swine production became a market specification through much of the U.S. pork packing industry. Although ractopamine (sold under the trade names Paylean® or Engain® for swine) is an approved product used to increase lean growth rate, it has been banned in many international pork markets.

As a result, swine exhibited at the 2020 Ohio State Fair are required to be ractopamine-free. In response, the Ohio Pork Council, Ohio State University Extension, Ohio Department of Agriculture, and Ohio State Fair have collaborated to establish a comprehensive plan to ensure swine shown at the fair have never been fed or exposed to ractopamine. Fair participants will be required to sign an affidavit affirming their pigs have never been given ractopamine.

2020 VMLRP application period now open. A number of counties in southern and southeastern Ohio have been designated by the federal government as veterinary shortage areas. Under the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), veterinarians practicing food animal medicine in these areas for at least three years are eligible for federal loan repayment grants. The deadline to submit an application for a grant is April 2. Learn More & Apply ❯❯


You don’t need to hold office to make a difference…

Think you can’t have an impact on the laws and regulations governing your profession without running for office? Think again! OVMA’s annual advocacy day is your chance to educate your elected officials on issues important to you and your colleagues.

Whether you are on a first name basis with your elected official or you don’t know anything about them, we need your help at the Statehouse on April 29. We’ll make all your appointments for you, provide complimentary lunch, and guide you on what to say and where to go. All we need is your experience and insight!

Additional opportunities to make a difference

Weigh in on veterinary curriculum

The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine is beginning the process of revising the DVM curriculum and is seeking veterinarian input via an anonymous survey. Outcomes from this survey will help OSU CVM faculty define what defines a career-ready graduate. The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete, and respondents will have an opportunity to provide additional feedback after its conclusion if they wish.

Help community, teach students at vaccine clinic

The Ohio State University Veterinary Outreach Program’s monthly vaccine clinic provides free core vaccines to Columbus pet owners whose income falls below 138% of the poverty line. On the third Saturday of each month, four volunteer veterinarians staff the clinic, where they administer vaccines and perform physical exams alongside OSU students.

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