HISA submits Medication Control Program rules to FTC for final approval

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Aug. 18, 2022

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Board of Directors Aug. 17 submitted its proposed rules for its Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program to the Federal Trade Commission for final approval.

The program is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2023. The HISA Racetrack Safety Program took effect July 1.

The FTC’s approval process includes another public comment period for industry representatives, horsemen, state regulators and the general public. To comment, visit www.hisaus.org/regulations.

HISA in a release said the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program rules and regulations were developed by the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit—it will oversee and enforce the program—in consultation with the ADMC Standing Committee before being presented to the HISA Board of Directors for approval. “There was a public comment period and numerous open discussions and meetings with industry organizations and individuals, as well as the careful consideration of more than 200 comments submitted by racing participants and the general public,” the release states.

“The comprehensive and uniform rules and regulations outlined in HISA’s ADMC Program will truly level the playing field for racing participants and fans across the country,” said HISA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lazarus said. “The ADMC Program’s standardized implementation of the rules and the consistent enforcement and efficient resolution of rule violations by HIWU will make for a fairer, more transparent sport, and horses will be safer as a result.”

The rules submitted to the FTC include the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Protocol, the Prohibited List, Definitions, Arbitration Procedures, Equine Testing and Investigation Standards, and Equine Standards for Laboratories and Accreditation. HISA recently made public a draft of its Prohibited Substances List and will continue to solicit stakeholder input before submitting that document to the FTC at a later date.

(The ADMC Program rules and Prohibited List as released for public comment are available under the HISA tab at the top of the THA website homepage. They will be replaced when the rules are finalized by the FTC.)

“These rules and enforcement processes are informed by subject matter experts who understand anti-doping and therapeutic medication control, have been involved in creating and managing equine anti-doping and welfare programs, and have unparalleled experience in testing science and research,” ADMC Committee Chair Adolpho Birch said in the release. “Out-of-competition testing, uniform lab accreditation and results management processes, a robust intelligence and investigations arm, and consistent penalties that are commensurate to potential rule violations are just a few of the components of HISA’s ADMC Program that will change Thoroughbred horseracing for the better.

“Importantly, the rules and processes include and build upon successful state programs, such as the Multiple Medications
Violations Schedule.”

HISA also said the HIWU will begin working with state racing commissions and others across the industry to undertake a “thorough stakeholder education process to ensure a smooth transition to implementation of HISA’s ADMC Program and HIWU’s ensuing enforcement. In the future, HISA and HIWU will also work with the industry to evolve the rules based on their feedback and as new data, science and experience on the ground dictates.” Those comments follow criticism from industry stakeholders that HISA has not been transparent and did not engage enough stakeholders in the development of rules and regulations.

“These new ADMC regulations, incorporating best practice from current equine anti-doping programs and from the World Anti-Doping Code, and reflecting the extensive and helpful feedback received from stakeholders, promise a new beginning for U.S. Thoroughbred racing,” said Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the HIWU Advisory Council. “The Advisory Council looks forward to overseeing and supporting HIWU’s efforts to implement and enforce these new regulations robustly, consistently, and fairly across the whole of the sport.”