In continuing efforts to thwart prescription drug abuse and diversion, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) today urged the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to ensure a safe and secure process for the disposal of controlled substances.
In December, the DEA published a proposed rule to govern the secure disposal of controlled substances by both DEA registrants (including pharmacies) and users (patients and others on their behalf). NACDS’ comments are in response to this proposed rule.
In its comments, NACDS noted its appreciation for DEA’s commitment to dispose of unwanted controlled substances in the proposed rule, but cited concerns with the manner in which disposal may be carried out.
NACDS expressed support for mail-back programs so that patients can mail unwanted controlled substances to be disposed of properly. However the association cited an undue burden on community pharmacies in tracking unique identification numbers on mail-back packages.
NACDS also cited the importance of ensuring that the requirements for maintaining collection receptacles in community pharmacies are easily administered by the pharmacy, and are aligned with other laws and regulations concerning pharmaceutical and hazardous waste.
“We share DEA’s goal of working towards a safe and appropriate lawful means for consumers to return their unused medications to authorized entities for destruction,” NACDS stated in its comments.
In addition to its support of proper disposal options, NACDS also supports collaboration among law enforcement agencies to combat prescription drug abuse and diversion. NACDS supports the creation of a commission comprised of DEA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and others – via legislation – to foster unprecedented collaboration among the law enforcement and health communities. This concept gained interest during the Prescription Drug User Fee Act debate last year in Congress. NACDS issued a letter to the editor to TheWall Street Journal on this topic, following their “Making the ‘Pharmacy Crawl’” article last fall.