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NACDS chimes in as House drafts Rx abuse bill
May 28th, 2014
ARLINGTON, Va. – With a key congressional committee set to assess a bill on prescription drug abuse, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has reaffirmed its support for the legislation.
NACDS said Wednesday that it has written to the bipartisan leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committees' Health Subcommittee to reiterate its endorsement of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act (H.R. 4709).
The subcommittee is scheduled to consider amendments, or "mark up," H.R. 4709. Sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R., Pa.) and Energy and Commerce Committee vice chair Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.), the legislation would create a framework to foster collaboration among health and enforcement officials and other stakeholders to consider prescription drug abuse and access issues simultaneously, according to NACDS.
NACDS formally endorsed the bill in February, and in its letter this week pointed to the momentum that has brought the bill to the mark-up stage.
"NACDS and the chain pharmacy industry are committed to partnering with policymakers to develop viable strategies to prevent prescription drug diversion and abuse. To this end, we support policies that empower law enforcement to protect Americans against the dangers of prescription drug diversion and abuse while maintaining legitimate patient access to needed medications," NACDS wrote to the subcommittee.
"This important legislation would foster the development of such policies by directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collaborate with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy to assess how patient access to medications could be adversely affected by federal and state law enforcement activities, and to identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs," NACDS explained in the letter. "Moreover, this legislation would require HHS to consult with patient and provider groups, including pharmacies, among other stakeholders. We appreciate the recognition of pharmacies as critical stakeholders in efforts to prevent prescription drug diversion and abuse."
Last summer, NACDS also expressed its support for the Combatting Prescription Drug Abuse Act (S. 1277), introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.), which would create a federal commission to address abuse of prescription drugs.