The House bill is sponsored by U.S. Reps. David McKinley (R, W.V.), Paul Tonko (D, N.Y.), Tom Marino (R, Pa.), and David Cicilline (D, R.I.). H.R. 5628 is the companion legislation to S. 2645 in the Senate, introduced earlier in April by Sen. Joni Ernst (R, Iowa), with the bipartisan original co-sponsorship of Sens. Chuck Grassley (R, Iowa) and Richard Blumenthal (D, Conn.).
The bill would create a demonstration program to provide federal grant funding to states, based on a state’s eligible collector participation rate and opioid overdose rate, to assist drug disposal authorized collectors with the cost to purchase, install, and maintain drug take-back kiosks; the cost to dispose of collected unwanted prescription drugs; and the cost to train staff in operating the kiosks with the goal of improving take-back programs and participation in the states.
In a letter to the members of Congress, NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson, wrote: “Chain pharmacies support patient access to safe and effective methods for disposal of unwanted prescription medications. To further such access, NACDS supports policies that accommodate pharmacy participation in a variety of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) authorized options for prescription drug disposal programs, including take-back kiosks in pharmacies. Through the provision of federal funding to operate take-back kiosks in various communities, the Act encourages more pharmacies to volunteer to host take-back kiosks. Passage of the Act would be a key component of a broader and more diversified effort to assist consumers with safely and effectively disposing of their unwanted prescription drugs.”
Rep. McKinley described the importance of the legislation in building on the effectiveness of current programs. “Drug Takeback Day has been a useful tool as we seek to curb the growing epidemic of prescription opioid abuse,” Rep. McKinly said. “Having excess and unused medicine lying around is a recipe for danger. These pills need to be safely and properly disposed of so they won’t be misused, stolen or sold.”
The flexibility and state focus of the legislation is consistent with the spirit of policy recommendations announced and advocated by NACDS. In addition to drug disposal, NACDS’ recommendations involve limits on initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain; mandatory electronic prescribing; and creation of a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program.
NACDS’ recommendations were crafted based on pharmacists’ experience on the front lines of healthcare delivery, and to complement pharmacy’s initiatives and ongoing collaboration with other healthcare professionals and with law enforcement, in areas including: drug disposal; patient education; compliance programs; advancing electronic prescribing; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; and more.