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Prescription drug abuse bill gets Senate approval

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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Senate has passed the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016 (S. 483), legislation that has the support of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

The bill would advance collaboration among health and enforcement authorities to achieve drug abuse solutions that maintain patients’ legitimate access to medications.

The House of Representatives passed its largely similar version of the bill (H.R. 471) in April 2015. Congressional leaders will need to determine the best path to achieving passage of the exact same legislative language in both chambers so that the bill can advance to President Obama for his signature.

In late February, NACDS sent a letter to members of the Senate that explained NACDS’ support of the bill. The lead sponsors of the Senate bill are Sens. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.).

“NACDS appreciates the diligence that has brought this legislation to the brink of enactment,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson. “Throughout, NACDS has emphasized pharmacy’s commitment to a zero tolerance for abuse and diversion, and a 100% commitment to patient care. This legislation will help to deliver on that ­vision.

“All you have to do is see the suffering of those affected by prescription drug abuse, and the suffering of those affected by chronic pain, to know that there needs to be a genuine effort to address these complex problems simultaneously, strategically and ­sympathetically.”


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