Inside This Issue - News
Chains have no tolerance for Rx diversion
March 26th, 2012
WASHINGTON – Chain pharmacies have “zero tolerance” for prescription drug diversion, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores told a congressional subcommittee earlier this month.
Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, chaired by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R., Calif.), NACDS vice president of government affairs and pharmacy advisor Kevin Nicholson assured the panel that community pharmacy takes the problem of diversion very seriously and is proactive in trying to stop the diversion of pharmaceuticals.
“We have implemented a variety of extensive and robust loss prevention and internal security systems, from our prescription drug distribution centers to point of dispensing to patients,” he said, citing the use of camera surveillance and complex alarm systems, training employees how to handle suspicious prescriptions, and conducting background checks and random drug testing for employees as some of the ways in which the industry is addressing this problem.
Nicholson also stressed chain pharmacies’ participation in state prescription drug monitoring programs.
“We support policies to prevent illegitimate Internet drug sellers from illegally selling prescription drugs to consumers, and we support efforts to provide consumers with the means for the proper disposal of unwanted medications in ways authorized by law enforcement,” he said.
Nicholson was one of several government officials and association representatives to testify at the subcommittee’s “Prescription Drug Diversion: Combating the Scourge” hearing in early March.
The subcommittee is examining the effectiveness of federal and state mandates that are designed to fight what many say is increasingly widespread prescription drug diversion and abuse.
In a 2010 survey state and local law enforcement agencies across the country said they viewed controlled prescription drugs as the greatest drug threat facing their communities.
At the state level, as of June 2011, 48 states had adopted Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), but critics of these efforts say that not all of the programs are funded or effective.
Some states have adopted additional prescription drug legislation. In July 2011, for instance, Florida adopted a law that banned doctors and pain clinics from selling prescription painkillers, and the total number of oxycodone pills that were prescribed in the state dropped by 97%.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi told the subcommittee that prior to the state’s prescription drug legislation, 90 of the 100 biggest oxycodone prescribers were in Florida and since the law went into effect that number has dropped to 13.