NACDS Backs Bill to Require E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances


Arlington, VA — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) has endorsed H.R. 3528, the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act, introduced by U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). The bill would require electronic prescribing for controlled substance medications in Medicare Part D.

“We believe the legislation is an important step in combatting the abuse and diversion of prescription opioid medications. Electronic prescribing of controlled substances adds new dimensions of safety and security,” wrote NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, in a letter to Reps. Clark and Mullin.

“Prescribers can more easily track the controlled substance prescriptions a patient has received. Additionally, electronic controlled substance prescriptions cannot be altered, cannot be copied, and are electronically trackable. Furthermore, the federal DEA rules for electronic controlled substances prescriptions establish strict security measures, such as two-factor authentication, that reduce the likelihood of fraudulent prescriptions.”

NACDS described its consistent support for the advancement of electronic prescribing, as well the evolution of public policy to leverage advantages of the technology. NACDS also expressed appreciation for the legislators’ efforts to craft the legislation in a way that acknowledges and addresses instances in which electronic prescribing is not feasible or may not be possible.

The legislation is consistent with recommendations offered by NACDS to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. In comments to the Commission, NACDS referenced the legislation as well as additional e-prescribing topics:

“NACDS is supporting draft federal legislation that would require prescriptions for controlled substances in the Medicare Part D program to be issued electronically. In addition, NACDS recently developed model state legislative language to pursue mandatory electronic prescribing for all prescriptions…We urge that the Administration finalize the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] interim final rule (IFR) that allows for the electronic prescribing of controlled substances. The current limitations in the IFR serve as barriers to more widespread adoption of electronic prescribing technologies. Finally, we urge CMS [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] to move to the latest version of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) SCRIPT Standard so that prescribers and pharmacies may take full advantage of current electronic prescribing technologies.”

The introduction of H.R. 3528 follows another recent and positive development for the use of e-prescribing for controlled substances. NACDS in July applauded a DEA guidance regarding the forwarding of such prescriptions. By explicitly stating that a DEA-registered pharmacy may forward to another DEA-registered pharmacy an unfilled, original e-prescription for controlled substances that the pharmacy is unable to fill for any reason, the guidance “encourages the use of electronic prescribing for controlled substances, and removes a substantial barrier to doing so,” Anderson said.

NACDS has long served as a pioneer and advocate for e-prescribing and for the numerous advantages it presents for patients and for the healthcare delivery system. NACDS and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) partnered to help create the health information network that ultimately merged with RxHub and that now operates as Surescripts.

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