For Immediate Release - February 22, 2012

Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine Finds One in Five Inspected Vet Offices Held Expired or Improperly Stored Medicine

BOSTON - February 22, 2012 - A series of inspections by the Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine found that nearly one in five veterinarian offices checked had expired or improperly stored medications on its shelves last year.

Board investigators conducted unannounced, random inspections of medications at 104 veterinary practices across Massachusetts, and violations were found at 20 locations. All 20 locations with violations had expired medication, and one location also had inadequate security measures for controlled substances, which require a prescription to obtain.

"This is a serious deficiency for the veterinarians who were not properly maintaining their medications," said Mark Kmetz, the Director of the Division of Professional Licensure. "Expired drugs can have harmful effects on animals, and pet owners must be confident that their vet is using appropriate, and appropriately controlled, medicines."

The violations led to discipline including $3,800 in fines by the board. This total included two instances of veterinarians having been found to have expired medications for a second time, and one who had a third violation. A full list of results can be found at the Division of Professional Licensure website.

Board regulations prohibit veterinarians from keeping or using expired medications, and require proper disposal or return of expired medications. Veterinary medications, like other drugs, are made of unique combinations of active and inactive ingredients that may break down or change over time and expiration dates exist to warn of this danger. Expired medications can fail to work as intended, or cause harm due to chemical changes in the ingredients.

"A pet is a part of a family, and pet owners expect their animals will receive quality care from a vet," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "Quality care includes using appropriate medication that has not expired. Pet owners need to be able to trust the veterinary marketplace."

Veterinarians diagnose, treat, and prescribe for disease, pain, and injury in animals. The Board of Registration of Veterinary Medicine licenses individuals who have received a doctor's degree in veterinary medicine from an approved school and pass the national exams and the state's jurisprudence exam with grades considered satisfactory by the Board.

The Board protects the public by monitoring the practices of the veterinarians it licenses to ensure that they practice according to the laws of the State and the standards of the Board. The Board currently licenses 2,965 individuals in the veterinary profession.

Consumers are urged to visit the Division of Professional Licensure's web site at www.mass.gov/dpl and select the "Check a Professional's License" link to determine whether a professional with whom they may do business is licensed and in good standing.

The Division of Professional Licensure is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.  The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for approximately 365,000 licensees in trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 boards of registration.

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Download the 2011 VT Inspections xlsx format of    2011 VT Inspections