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Senate panel green lights e-prescribing Bill

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Legislation to help further address the opioid abuse epidemic.

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Senate Finance Committee has passed the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act (S. 2460), which is backed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). The House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee passed companion legislation (H.R. 3528) on May 9.

The legislation would require electronic prescribing for Schedule II through V controlled substances prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D to help prevent fraud, abuse and waste.

“NACDS appreciates the leadership of the Senate Finance Committee in advancing the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act, which is consistent with NACDS’ policy recommendations to help further address the opioid abuse epidemic,” said NACDS president and chief executive officer Steven Anderson. “NACDS’ recommendations are based on pharmacists’ experiences on the front lines of healthcare delivery. Enhanced use of electronic prescribing is an important part of the comprehensive effort to keep opioids out of the wrong hands, and we urge continued vigilance to assure enactment of this legislation.”

Sens. Michael Bennet (D, Colo.) and Dean Heller (R, Nev.) introduced S. 2460, with the original co-sponsorship of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) and Pat Toomey (R, Pa.). H.R. 3528 was introduced by Rep. Katherine Clark (D, Mass.) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R, Okla.).

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. Consistent with the bipartisan nature of the legislation’s support in Congress, the support for the bill among survey respondents was consistently high across individuals of different political ideologies and affiliations.

Expanding electronic prescribing for controlled substances is among the policy recommendations issued by NACDS to complement longstanding and ongoing pharmacy initiatives to prevent opioid abuse, including compliance programs; pioneering e-prescribing; drug disposal; patient education; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; and more.

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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