FTC Publishes Resubmitted HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Control Rules

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Edited Press Release

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published the resubmitted Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) rules to the Federal Register, initiating a 14-day public comment period, according to a press release from HISA Friday morning. The FTC now has 60 days to approve or deny the proposed rules.

HISA's draft ADMC rules were initially rejected by the FTC in late 2022 due to ongoing legal uncertainties. HISA resubmitted the rules for consideration by the FTC to give the agency more authority over HISA in order to address constitutional questions raised by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That bill passed both houses of Congress in December and was signed into law by President Biden.

Now that the rules have been resubmitted and posted to the Federal Register, HISA said that they anticipated that its ADMC Program would go into effect March 27, 2023, pending FTC approval. The resubmitted rules include a small number of minor revisions from the version submitted in August, 2022. A clean version of the proposed rules is available on the Federal Register now and a red-lined version will be available on HISA's website within the next 48 hours, the Authority said. In its December, 2022 order, the FTC stated it would consider all previously posted comments on the Federal Register as well as any updated or new comments.

Upon implementation, the ADMC Program will be administered and enforced by the Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit (HIWU). The development of the ADMC rules included an initial public comment period, 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.

Included in the rules package are 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.

“The establishment of uniform, nationwide anti-doping rules in Thoroughbred racing will strongly enhance the safety and integrity of our sport and is a step many in our industry have long advocated for,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “The health and safety of horses is our paramount concern, and the consistent enforcement and efficient resolution of rule violations will transform how we protect our equine athletes. We deeply value the input we've received from racing participants throughout the development of these rules, and I encourage all participants to continue to share their thoughts with us moving forward.”

HISA's ADMC Program will advance and modernize anti-doping practices across the sport with components including out-of-competition testing, uniform lab accreditation, a uniform results management process, a robust intelligence and investigations arm and consistent penalties.

As HIWU prepares for the ADMC Program's launch, the organization will continue to publish and share educational material with industry stakeholders, available at hiwu.org, and will host meetings with groups of racing participants to further educate on the new rules and answer questions.

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