House passes bipartisan opioid abuse package

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ARLINGTON, Va. – Legislation backed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) to help address the opioid abuse epidemic was passed today by the House of Representatives. The bill – the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act (H.R. 3528) – would require electronic prescribing for Schedule II through V controlled substances prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D to help prevent fraud, abuse and waste. The bill is included as part of a larger opioid-related legislation package, H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D, Mass.), who introduced the bill, said, “This legislation will make it easier for providers to track prescriptions and harder for prescription forgery to occur while helping to prevent doctor shopping.”

“There is no silver bullet to remedy the opioid epidemic, but the EPCS Act is one of many pieces of opioid legislation that helps curb the causes of the crisis impacting our families, friends and communities,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R, Okla.), lead sponsor of the bill.

Public support for the concept of the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act is strong. In a January 2018 national survey conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS, 76% supported rules that all prescriptions must be handled electronically, rather than by paper or fax, as a way to help address the opioid abuse epidemic. Notably, 45% support the policy strongly, demonstrating intensity of opinion.

NACDS has long supported e-prescribing as part of the solution to the opioid abuse crisis and included it in its public policy recommendations earlier this year, along with ongoing pharmacy initiatives to prevent opioid abuse, including compliance programs; drug disposal; patient education; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; and more.

“NACDS is grateful to Rep. Katherine Clark (D, Mass.) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R, Okla.) for spearheading and championing this important legislation, and we also extend gratitude to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R, Oreg.) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D, N.J.) for their proactive, effective work in advancing a bill that will be part of a solution to a difficult but extremely critical issue,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson.

The Senate companion legislation of the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act is S. 2460, introduced by Sens. Michael Bennet (D, Colo.) and Dean Heller (R-NV), with the original co-sponsorship of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). A bill would need to be passed in identical form by both chambers prior to its proceeding to President Trump for consideration and signature.


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