President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016 (S. 483), which had drawn strong support from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Healthcare Distribution Management Association and National Community Pharmacists Association, among other pharmacy industry stakeholders.
“This new law is one part of the culture change that needs to occur to make possible a nuanced approach to this complex issue. We appreciate the President’s signing this bill into law today,” NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement.
“We thank for their leadership in the Congress: Rep. Tom Marino (R., Pa.), House Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.), Rep. Judy Chu (D., Calif.), Rep. Peter Welch (D., Vt.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.). And we thank those in the patient advocacy community, the enforcement community, and other allies in healthcare for making possible this important step toward consensus.”
Sponsored by Hatch and Whitehouse, S. 483 aims to facilitate the collaboration of health and enforcement authorities in fighting prescription drug abuse and misuse without impeding patients’ access to the medicines they need. The House of Representatives passed the bill last week in the same version approved by the Senate last month.
“Today’s enactment is a victory for not only supply chain stakeholders and regulators, who share a common goal in mitigating the scourge of prescription drug abuse in this country, but the many individuals who rely on life-enhancing pain medicines every day. The changes brought forth through this law strike the appropriate balance of further protecting the supply chain against drug diversion, while allowing continuing patient access to critical medicines — and it does so in a way that promotes collaboration between the health care supply chain and those who regulate it,” stated HDMA president and CEO John Gray.
“As the first bill combatting prescription drug abuse to become law in the 114th Congress, we thank President Obama for his support and prompt attention to this important legislation,” Gray added. “We now will continue to work with our members, regulators — including the Drug Enforcement Administration — and supply chain partners to ensure that this law is implemented efficiently and effectively.”