House Expedites Bills to Prevent Rx Abuse and Diversion

A trio of legislative measures to combat drug abuse and diversion earned high praise from the nation’s chain pharmacists.

Three bills supported by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) are expected quick passage in the US House of Representatives, NACDS announced Wednesday. The bills are designed to curb drug abuse and diversion and reflect the pharmacy organization’s efforts to encourage workable solutions that benefit both pharmacies and patients.

“This legislative trifecta illustrates NACDS’ members’ commitment to ensuring that prescription and over-the-counter medications are used appropriately, and these pieces of legislation reflect NACDS-backed approaches to accomplishing that objective,” said NACDS President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE.

HR 5809, also called the Safe Drug Disposal Act aims to provide patients who take controlled substances with safe, effective channels for the disposal of leftover medication. It would not require any entity to establish a take-back or disposal program, but would let pharmacies “determine the best means for working with consumers and law enforcement,” according to NACDS.

The second piece of legislation, HR 5710, concerns the statewide monitoring of prescription drug use. The National All Schedules Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act would provide additional funding to help states establish programs that ensure health care providers and law enforcement officials have access to complete, accurate prescription histories.

NACDS will work with legislators to develop programs that accomplish that goal without inhibiting pharmacists’ ability to deliver effective patient care. “While these programs can be useful to law enforcement in combating diversion, it is important that they not be administratively burdensome or disruptive to patient care activities and the legitimate practices of pharmacy and medicine,” the group wrote in a statement.

The third item on the drug safety agenda is the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act, or HR 2923, which would require retail sellers of products containing pseudoephedrine to self-certify with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The provision represents an extension of voluntary efforts by NACDS members to cooperate with the DEA in the fight against methamphetamine production.

That collaboration is expected to continue throughout the implementation of these 3 bills, according to Anderson. “These bills reflect a pro-patient, pro-pharmacy approach to these issues, and NACDS will work to help enact them,” he said.

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