July 11, 2013 (Arlington, Va.) — National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, today called new legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) “a highly reasoned and realistic approach to one of the complex public health problems of our day” and “a sincere effort that can meet patients’ needs, help safeguard Americans, and improve governance and discourse in our nation.”
The Senator’s “Combating Prescription Drug Abuse Act” (S. 1277) would establish a commission to better coordinate efforts to reduce prescription drug abuse while helping to maintain access to prescription medications for legitimate patient care needs.
Anderson said, “It makes perfect sense that problems like drug abuse and meeting patients’ needs merit the highest form of collaboration among experts in government and in the private sector, but the best of intentions do not always provide that. This Commission is a sincere approach to leverage experience, insights, resources and dedication for the good of public health and public safety, and it should be pursued aggressively. We commend Senator Boxer for moving forward with this important concept.”
The 30-member Combatting Prescription Drug Abuse Commission would include equitable representation of healthcare and law enforcement entities. A representative of the Food and Drug Administration and a representative of the Drug Enforcement Administration would co-chair the Commission. Other members would include representatives of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; of patient groups; of pharmacy, prescriber, hospital, wholesaler and other health groups; of state attorneys general; of local and other law enforcement officials; and public policy experts.
The Commission would review and report to Congress on prescription drug abuse reduction efforts, and specifically would be required to issue a report to Congress “that describes the efforts of the Commission to prevent or reduce drug diversion and abuse to ensure that patients continue to have access to medications.” The legislation includes a focus on fostering collaboration among federal enforcement and health agencies.
The bill’s introduction follows a move by Senator Boxer today to request that the U.S. Government Accountability Office conduct a study to identify coordination opportunities among health and enforcement entities to better address prescription drug abuse while ensuring legitimate patient access to medications.