Bill would address the opioid abuse epidemic.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R, Iowa) introduced the legislation, with the bipartisan original co-sponsorship of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R, Iowa) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D, Conn.). Sen. Grassley serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Blumenthal is a member of the Committee.
The bill would create a demonstration program to provide federal grant funding to five states 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.
NACDS endorsed the Senate bill, as well as similar companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 5628. when both bills were introduced in April. The House bill is sponsored by U.S. Reps. David B. McKinley (R, WV), Paul Tonko (D, N.Y.), Tom Marino (R, Pa.), and David Cicilline (D-RI).
Following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s action today, NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson said, “NACDS appreciates the leadership of Senator Ernst, Chairman Grassley and Senator Blumenthal in advancing this legislation, and we urge continued focus on this bill in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. Chain pharmacies support and help make possible patient access to safe and effective methods for disposal of unwanted prescription medications. This legislation will help to keep opioids out of the wrong hands, and will figure significantly in a comprehensive effort to help address the opioid abuse epidemic.”
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.
Opioid abuse prevention – and drug disposal specifically – is one of the top community-engagement initiatives of NACDS member companies, as described in the 2017 Chain Pharmacy Community Engagement Report.