Three bills to help remedy prescription medication abuse and drug diversion were pushed ahead this week in the House of Representatives, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.


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Legislation on Rx abuse, diversion moves forward

September 23rd, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Three bills to help remedy prescription medication abuse and drug diversion were pushed ahead this week in the House of Representatives, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

NACDS said in advance of a House vote on Wednesday that it expected the trio of bills, which the association supports, to pass under "suspension of the rules," allowing for expedited consideration of legislation.

On Wednesday the House passed the Safe Drug Disposal Act and the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act. As of Thursday afternoon, further action on other bill, the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act, was postponed after the House had debated it and ordered a vote.

According to NACDS, the Safe Drug Disposal Act aims to find a safe, effective means for consumers to dispose of unused medications, including controlled substances. The association said it worked with Reps. Jay Inslee (D., Wash.), Bart Stupak (D., Mich.), Joe Barton (R., Texas) and Lamar Smith (R., Texas) to include language ensuring that regulations by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) won't require any entity to establish a drug disposal program, such as a takeback program. That would enable pharmacies and other entities to determine the best means for working with consumers and law enforcement to safely dispose of unused drugs, NACDS noted.

The National All-Schedules Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act would assist states with funding for state prescription drug monitoring programs. NACDS said that many states use prescription drug monitoring programs to curb diversion and abuse of controlled substances and that, although such tools can be useful to law enforcement in combating diversion, it's important that they not be administratively burdensome or disruptive to patient care and the practice of pharmacy and medicine.

Meanwhile, the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act would require all entities that sell products containing pseudoephedrine to certify with DEA. NACDS pointed out that its members have long supported efforts to fight methamphetamine abuse and production, even before the introduction of state and federal legislation.

"This legislative trifecta illustrates NACDS members' commitment to ensuring that prescription and over-the-counter medications are used appropriately, and these pieces of legislation reflect NACDS-backed approaches to accomplishing that objective," stated NACDS president and chief executive Steve Anderson. "These bills reflect a pro-patient, pro-pharmacy approach to these issues, and NACDS will work to help enact them."

NACDS added that it has been actively engaged with Congress to urge the passage of these bills. The association in July sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders commending the bills' passage by the committee.

"NACDS is hopeful that the Senate will follow suit and pass these pro-patient, pro-pharmacy bills," Anderson commented. "We will continue to urge lawmakers to act in the interest of patients and pass these bills that will help curb prescription medication abuse."

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