Responding to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores called for more collaboration between the health care community and law enforcement in the battle against abuse of prescription painkillers.


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NACDS speaks out on battle against abuse of Rx painkillers

October 2nd, 2012

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Responding to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores called for more collaboration between the health care community and law enforcement in the battle against abuse of prescription painkillers.

NACDS said Tuesday that president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson sent a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal regarding a Sept. 27 article headlined, "Making the Pharmacy Crawl."

The article depicts the challenges that patients face when trying to access prescription pain medications for legitimate purposes, given efforts by law enforcement agencies to confront illegal use of these medicines.

In the letter, Anderson urges more coordination among law enforcement and health care providers to combat prescription drug abuse and drug diversion. He noted one aspect of the solution that NACDS advocates: a legislative approach that would foster unprecedented collaboration among the law enforcement and health communities. The collaboration would be pursued through a national commission including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other entities.

NACDS endorsed that solution during Congress' consideration of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act this year, and the association said it has made the case for it in statements submitted in conjunction with congressional hearings by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and by the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

"The article 'Making the ‘Pharmacy Crawl' (Sept. 27) highlights the need for timely access to pain medications for legitimate patient care, while preventing medications from falling into the wrong hands," Anderson stated in the letter. "This solution requires collaboration among law enforcement and the healthcare community to a degree that does not exist currently. Therefore, we support the formation of a commission comprised of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration and others. This concept gained interest during this year's Prescription Drug User Fee Act debate."

Anderson stressed that community pharmacies "maintain zero tolerance" for drug diversion and have a "100% commitment" to serving legitimate patient needs.

"Pharmacists take seriously their role in caring for those with chronic needs yet are challenged to identify diversion and abuse," he said in the letter. "Patients whose therapies require medications should not be penalized for the acts of others. Congress should deliver the collaboration that fosters patient health while attacking drug abuse and diversion."

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