In a move regulators say would streamline the process of rule-making in the areas of medication policy and testing standards, the Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) has asked that the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) be merged into a new RCI scientific advisory board.

The move would eliminate the current role of the RMTC in initially shaping rules, providing industry expertise in shaping new policies, and presenting recommendations to regulators. The RCI called on the RMTC to merge into a permanent scientific advisory board—the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee—that will develop policy recommendations.

Regulators said consortium industry members would still be heard on the reshaped RCI committee.

Hallie Roach Lewis, RMTC spokeswoman, said on Dec. 16 that the organization had no immediate comment, but that the RMTC Executive Committee would review the proposal.

"The RCI board believes the advisory process on racing medication and anti-doping policy can be strengthened and redundancies eliminated," said RCI chairman John Ward Jr., executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. "As regulators, we have the exclusive responsibility to make and enforce the rules, and given current challenges, we believe it is time to restructure the advisory process to make it stronger."

The RCI said the action was prompted by numerous factors including functional concerns about the current scientific advisory process, transparency, non-participation of key experts, and the withdrawal of the United States Trotting Association (USTA) from the RMTC.