With Eye Toward Uniformity, Kentucky Reviews Drug Rules: Blood-Horse 2/1/17

By: Frank Angst

After an in-depth review of its racing medication rules relative to the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s recommendations, a Kentucky council is recommending penalty classification changes for a pair of medications.

The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council recommended Feb. 1 that the expectorant ambroxol (Ambril) be moved to a more severe penalty classification, from Class C to Class B; and the anti-inflammatory dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) also be moved up, from Class D to Class C.

Not that the variance is wide, but Kentucky Horse Racing Commission staff, led by equine medical director Mary Scollay, conducted a comprehensive review of Kentucky’s medication rules compared with the ARCI’s Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances. That review was presented to the EDRC Wednesday.

The recommended changes for ambroxol and DMSO would make Kentucky uniform with ARCI classifications for those two medications. The ARCI creates model rules, in this case its medication classifications, that member regulators are encouraged to adopt in an effort to foster uniformity.

Scollay noted that the ARCI’s reasoning on placing ambroxol as a Class B is because the medication is not FDA-approved. She said the reasoning on DMSO is that Class C is where other anti-inflammatory medications are categorized.

The EDRC also spent some time talking about concerns about low-level contaminations leading to drug positives for trainers trying to follow the rules. Veterinarian and council member Andy Roberts said he would like to see screening cutoff levels added for substances commonly used, or abused, by humans that have shown up at low levels in equine drug tests.

In terms of the uniformity efforts, Scollay said she’d like to see Kentucky be comfortable enough with the ARCI Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances, which is updated once a year, to adopt it by reference. If that were to happen, any changes to the ARCI guidelines would then be put in place in Kentucky.

“That document is updated once a year,” Scollay said. “We’d then update the reg once a year and we’d be harmonized with all of the other racing jurisdictions.”

Scollay noted that when Kentucky differs from ARCI and pursues a penalty, the commission is put in the place of needing to defend why it’s taken a different position on substances than the national standard.

“And in some cases, that has been difficult to explain,” Scollay said.

* The EDRC currently does not have a representative from the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. EDRC chairman Stuart Brown said he’d contacted the Governor in the past few days asking that the spot be filled.

* KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil said he’s committed to having the state adopt the multiple medication violation pillar of the National Uniform Medication Program. He expects action toward that goal to begin soon through the KHRC rules committee.