The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is continuing to make administrative changes to provide greater flexibility as the country addresses the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the effort to provide adequate services while combatting COVID-19, the FDA has announced that it will be temporarily lifting enforcement of certain requirements to allow veterinarians to better utilize telemedicine to address animal health needs.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said that the move will allow for social distancing, while also ensuring that animals can receive the care they need from veterinary professionals. The agency intends to suspend the enforcement of certain aspects of the federal veterinarian-client-patient relationship requirements relevant to certain FDA regulations which require veterinarians to physically examine animals and to visit the location where an animal is kept in a timely manner.
Veterinarians will still need to consider any relevant state requirements, but the FDA announcement will allow for the use of telemedicine in instances previously prohibited. As an example, a veterinarian will be allowed to remotely examine and diagnose food-producing animals and authorize the use of certain medications.
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