Inside This Issue - News
Prescription Rx abuse bill wins strong industry support
March 17th, 2014
ARLINGTON, Va. – Trade groups representing the nation’s chain drug stores, independent pharmacies and pharmaceutical distributors are lining up behind legislation introduced in the House of Representatives to target prescription drug abuse.
The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2013 would bolster enforcement efforts to curtail prescription drug diversion and abuse. Rep. Tom Marino (R., Pa.) is the primary sponsor of the bill, which was introduced on February 18.
Experts in addiction say rates of prescription drug abuse have climbed over the past decade and that as more people are exposed to such opiate medications as OxyContin, Vicodin and Oxycodone, there has been a rise in heroin use. The number of people reporting heroin use in the past 12 months has nearly doubled since 2007, to 620,000, according to government statistics.
Marino’s bill, which has three cosponsors, would establish a working group to find ways to reduce prescription drug abuse while safeguarding access to medications for patients who legitimately need them. Millions of people use prescription painkillers safely, and doctors generally prescribe them conscientiously.
“This legislation is an important step in addressing one of the most complex public health problems of our day,” says Steve Anderson, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which supports the House bill.
“NACDS and chain pharmacy are committed to partnering with federal and state agencies, law enforcement personnel, policy makers and other stakeholders to work on viable strategies to simultaneously advance patient health and prevent prescription drug abuse,” Anderson says.
The legislation also has the support of the National Community Pharmacists Association, a trade group representing 23,000 independent pharmacies in the United States, and the Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA), which represents the primary health care distributors responsible for making sure that 15 million prescription medicines and health care products are safely delivered to nearly 200,000 pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and other facilities nationwide.
“Similar to the way drug manufacturers interact with the Food and Drug Administration, this bill will allow companies registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to submit corrective action plans to address DEA concerns, creating a more robust and transparent process to address drug diversion,” says John Gray, president and chief executive officer of HDMA.