The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has applauded a bill introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) that would create a federal commission to address abuse of prescription drugs.


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NACDS endorses bill to form Rx abuse commission

July 11th, 2013

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has applauded a bill introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) that would create a federal commission to address abuse of prescription drugs.

NACDS said Thursday that the new commission called for in the Combatting Prescription Drug Abuse Act (S. 1277) would coordinate efforts to fight prescription drug abuse and ensure access to prescriptions for legitimate patient care needs.

S. 1277, introduced by Boxer on Wednesday, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The proposed commission would have 30 members, with balanced representation of health care and law enforcement entities, NACDS reported. It would be co-chaired by a representative of the Food and Drug Administration and a representative of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Other members would include representatives of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; patient groups; pharmacy, prescriber, hospital, wholesaler and other health groups; state attorneys general; local and other law enforcement officials; and public policy experts.

The legislation represents "a highly reasoned and realistic approach to one of the complex public health problems of our day," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement.

"It makes perfect sense that problems like drug abuse and meeting patients' needs merit the highest form of collaboration among experts in government and in the private sector, but the best of intentions do not always provide that," Anderson explained. "This commission is a sincere approach to leverage experience, insights, resources and dedication for the good of public health and public safety, and it should be pursued aggressively. We commend Sen. Boxer for moving forward with this important concept."

NACDS said the Combatting Prescription Drug Abuse Commission would review and report to Congress on prescription drug abuse reduction efforts and, according to the legislation, be required to issue a report to Congress "that describes the efforts of the commission to prevent or reduce drug diversion and abuse to ensure that patients continue to have access to medications." The bill also focuses on promoting collaboration among federal enforcement and health agencies.

The association added that the bill's introduction follows a move by Boxer to request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a study to identify coordination opportunities among health and enforcement entities to better address prescription drug abuse while maintaining patient access to medications.

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