H.R. 471 will help curb prescription drug abuse and protect patient access to medically-necessary medications.
Arlington, Va. — Emphasizing the need for a commonsense, comprehensive solution, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) lauded U.S. House passage of bipartisan legislation today that will help curb prescription drug abuse and protect patients in need of medications. H.R. 471, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015 now moves one step closer to becoming law and helping millions of Americans impacted by prescription drug abuse, addiction and face challenges accessing much-needed medications.
Introduced earlier this year by U.S. Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Judy Chu (D-CA), NACDS had previously endorsed H.R. 471.
“We appreciate the leadership of Reps. Marino, Welch, Blackburn and Chu in bringing this important bill to the full House for a vote,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “And we also appreciate the support by Rep. Jolly, who is witnessing this problem first-hand in his congressional district, and understands the severe challenges of this overarching problem across Florida.”
“Prescription drug abuse, addiction and patient access to medically-necessary medications are complex issues that are not mutually exclusive. Addressing one problem can lead to unintended consequences. That’s why the passage of H.R. 471 today is paramount: it looks at the big picture and seeks to bring together all stakeholders — patients, law enforcement, pharmacy, prescribers and others – to find the best solution to prevent abuse and addiction and ensure that patients have access to their medications,” said Anderson.
Specifically, the bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to assess obstacles to legitimate patient access to controlled substances, and to identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.
Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) offered his support for the bill on the floor of the U.S. House today: “Florida has been at the epicenter of the debate concerning combating prescription drug abuse while ensuring legitimate patient access to critical pain medications. Unfortunately, federal agencies have not coordinated their efforts to ensure appropriate access to prescription controlled substances. In Florida, and elsewhere, we are seeing legitimate patients who are getting caught up in the efforts to stop prescription drug abuse. The key to this legislation is collaboration and coordination. This commonsense measure will help us more effectively fight prescription drug abuse while ensuring that Americans are able to get their needed pain medications.”
NACDS urges the U.S. Senate to pass similar bipartisan legislation - S. 483. Sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Senate version of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015 is also supported by NACDS.