May 28, 2014, Arlington, Va. — A key Congressional committee is set to consider legislation today to help identify solutions for prescription drug abuse while preserving patients’ legitimate access to needed medications. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) wrote to the bipartisan leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committees’ Health Subcommittee on Tuesday to affirm support for this effort.
The Subcommittee is scheduled to “mark up” — or consider amendments to – H.R. 4709, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act. Sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) and Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chair Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the bill would establish a framework to foster collaboration among health and enforcement officials and other stakeholders to consider abuse and access issues simultaneously.
NACDS formally endorsed the legislation in February, and in its letter this week it expressed encouragement about the momentum that has brought the bill to the mark-up stage.
“NACDS and the chain pharmacy industry are committed to partnering with policymakers to develop viable strategies to prevent prescription drug diversion and abuse. To this end, we support policies that empower law enforcement to protect Americans against the dangers of prescription drug diversion and abuse while maintaining legitimate patient access to needed medications,” NACDS wrote to the Subcommittee.
“This important legislation would foster the development of such policies by directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collaborate with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy to assess how patient access to medications could be adversely affected by federal and state law enforcement activities, and to identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. Moreover, this legislation would require HHS to consult with patient and provider groups, including pharmacies, among other stakeholders. We appreciate the recognition of pharmacies as critical stakeholders in efforts to prevent prescription drug diversion and abuse.”