July 19, 2011

Delaware Creates Consequences for Off-label Use of Animal Vaccines

High paws to Delaware Senator Karen E. Peterson who has filed SB 147. This bill creates a disciplinary action if a veterinarian gives vaccines in excess of the recommended dosages and/or frequencies.

As reported earlier this year:

The Iowa VMA, acting on a member's concern, posted a precaution in its March 14 Communique regarding the off-label use of rabies vaccine as a diluent to reconstitute either canine or feline distemper combination vaccines. The state association warned that this is not an approved use of the rabies vaccine unless it is specifically directed by the manufacturer, and that practitioners should seek advice from the technical services department of their vaccine manufacturer before using rabies vaccine as a diluent for any other vaccine.

Word of the notice reached the Center for Veterinary Biologics of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which then issued its own statement in late April to further clarify the issue.
Although canine and feline vaccines were specifically cited in the IVMA post, the CVB says it is concerned with any off-label use of vaccines, but specifically rabies vaccines, as diluents to reconstitute desiccated live-virus vaccines. The center's statement said rabies vaccines used as a diluent can substantially reduce the efficacy of the live viruses contained in veterinary distemper vaccines.

Other incidences of off-label use include using a dog or cat vaccine to inoculate a different species, such as sheep, goats, ostriches, vaccinating more than advised, administering vaccines when an animal is sick or otherwise stressed and so on. 

I may be reading too much into it, but there has been so little notice paid to off-label use of dog and cat vaccines that any promise of liability is, well, promising.

Thank you Senator Peterson! Other sponsors include  Rep. Viola, Sens. Henry, Sokola & Venables; Reps. Kenton, Miro & Ramone.

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