ARLINGTON, Va. — Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) president and CEO John Gray welcomed Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement yesterday of a prescription drug information-sharing agreement between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the attorneys general of 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Through this agreement, the DEA will share information from its Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS), with states providing the agency additional information, “often from prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).”
“Attorney General Sessions and the DEA took a promising step forward to provide states with the critical information they need to effectively curb our nation’s prescription drug abuse crisis,” said Gray. “This commitment to enhanced data sharing builds upon the progress made through the attorney general’s recent call for a review of the opioid production quotas, as well as the announcement of a new DEA assessment tool for controlled substance orders.”
HDA and the nation’s primary drug distributors have long advocated for increased transparency and information sharing to help mitigate this public health emergency, Gray added. While meaningful actions have been taken, they reiterated calls for the DEA to:
• Develop a ‘Universal Suspicious Orders Database’ supporting enhanced monitoring of controlled substances (including controlled opioid drugs), and share it with state regulators and state/local law enforcement officials.
• Publish a long awaited proposed rule on suspicious orders monitoring, providing industry and state regulators with clarity to help address this issue.
• Provide distributors with aggregated and blinded purchasing data from the ARCOS database (without identifying competitors), which would fill a significant information gap by allowing distributors to consider a customer’s orders in the context of overall distributions of ARCOS-reportable drugs to that entity.
“While distributors do not manufacture, prescribe or dispense medicines, we reaffirm our commitment to doing our part to protect the safety and security of nation’s prescription supply chain,” Gray said. “We look forward to partnering with the DEA as it provides the industry and state regulators, as well as state and local law enforcement, the information and tools they need to end this crisis.”