– In lead-up to a hearing of the Subcommittee on Health of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) submitted a statement
emphasizing the important collaborative role that pharmacy plays in helping to ensure that prescription medications are used appropriately and that local communities are safe. The association also offered recommendations to better integrate prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in pharmacies nationwide.
The statement underscores that NACDS and the chain pharmacy industry are committed to partnering with federal and state agencies, law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and others to work on viable strategies to prevent prescription drug abuse, such as prescription drug monitoring programs.
“Our members are engaged daily in activities with the goal of preventing drug abuse,” NACDS said in the statement. “Pharmacies submit information on the controlled substances they dispense. This includes information on the patient, prescribed drug dosage and quantity, and the prescriber. This information allows the state to conduct confidential reviews to determine any patterns of potential abuse or diversion.”
“While most individuals take prescription medications responsibly, we recognize that the potential exists for controlled substances to be diverted and abused. Most states now utilize PDMPs as a tool to curb controlled substance abuse. Chain pharmacies work with state PDMPs in all states that have them,” NACDS said in its statement.
NACDS recommended workable solutions to ensure PDMPs be appropriately designed so they are not administratively burdensome or disruptive to patient care in the pharmacy. In addition, NACDS emphasized the importance of consistency of reporting requirements to improve interstate operability; providing sufficient time for pharmacies to comply with the PDMP integration requirements; the establishment of a national aggregated controlled substance database as opposed to a patchwork of state databases; and expanding and accelerating the use of electronic prescribing for controlled substances.
“E-prescribing holds great promise to generate a robust database of real-time information that could be used by DEA, state enforcement officers, pharmacies, insurers, wholesalers, and other partners to assist with the proactive identification of prescription drug abuse,” NACDS said in its statement.
In reiterating its support for support for legislation that would reauthorize the National All-Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER), NACDS concluded, “We are committed to the health and welfare of our patients and the communities they call home. We believe that PDMPs are critical tools in combating prescription drug abuse and we encourage providing resources to ensure the viability of PDMPs.”