The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has commended the House Energy and Commerce Committee for advancing legislation to help address prescription medication abuse and diversion.

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NACDS: Key bills target prescription abuse, diversion

July 28th, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has commended the House Energy and Commerce Committee for advancing legislation to help address prescription medication abuse and diversion.

NACDS said that it has sent a letter to the committee leadership on Wednesday following the markup of three pro-patient, pro-pharmacy bills.

The association noted that it worked closely with the committee on a trio of bills — the Safe Drug Disposal Act, the National All-Schedules Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act and the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act — and was successful in obtaining language to help ensure safe disposal of prescription drugs by pharmacies.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) included an amendment in the Safe Drug Disposal Act to ensure that regulations by the Drug Enforcement Administration won't require any entity to establish a drug disposal program, such as a take-back program, according to NACDS.

"This would enable pharmacies to determine the best means for working with consumers and law enforcement to safely dispose of unused drugs," stated the letter, signed by NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson.

"We applaud the committee's bipartisan leadership, and the bill's primary sponsors, Reps. [Jay] Inslee, Stupak and [Lamar] Smith, for working with us to address these concerns," the letter added. "We look forward to working with you as these bills move to the full House of Representatives for its consideration."

In another congressional matter, NACDS on Tuesday sent a letter to Senate leaders that urged them to extend the increased federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by six months to June 30, 2011.

NACDS said that in the letter it asked Congress to expedite the extension as a freestanding measure or as part of some other legislation the Senate intends to pass before the August district work period begins. The association stressed the critical nature of the extension given state budget crunches and the impact on cuts to Medicaid.

"On July 1, many states submitted their fiscal 2011 budgets. Unfortunately, this has meant that states are being forced to make further cuts to Medicaid and other programs, which will reduce access to critical health care products and services, including prescription medications and related pharmacist services," the letter stated. "It may also result in increased taxes as states seek to meet their balanced budget requirements. These actions would create a further drag on the economy and may result in additional job loss. Passage of FMAP will help to stem potentially devastating cuts."

In early June, NACDS and four other retail pharmacy-related groups — the American Pharmacists Association, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations and the Food Marketing Institute — called on Congress to extend the hike in FMAP, which is set to expire Dec. 31.

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