NACDS Urges Action on GAO's Drug Abuse, Access Report
Submits comments as part of Senate hearing on coordination of agencies in management of controlled substances.
Arlington, Va. — In comments submitted in conjunction with a hearing of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control yesterday, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) emphasized the need for a comprehensive solution that combats prescription drug abuse while preserving legitimate patient access to medications. The hearing focused on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that has called for improved collaboration among enforcement and health agencies on prescription drug abuse and access issues.
In its comments, NACDS reiterated its support for bipartisan Senate legislation to accomplish both abuse and access challenges.
“We support the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015, which has been introduced in the Senate as S. 483, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). This legislation would promote cooperation among key government agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, to jointly identify obstacles to legitimate patient access to controlled substances, issues with diversion of controlled substances, and how collaboration between law enforcement agencies and healthcare stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of controlled substances.”
A similar version of the Senate bill passed the House in April.
In its comments, NACDS also cites pharmacy as part of the solution, with a strong commitment to serving patients and mitigating prescription drug abuse.
“Community pharmacists are front-line healthcare providers and are one of the most accessible members of a healthcare team,” NACDS wrote.
NACDS also cites chain pharmacy’s initiatives to combat prescription drug abuse through the implementation of a variety of loss prevention and internal security systems.
“Chain pharmacies are committed to ensuring that prescription drugs remain under tight control for the purposes of providing care to their patients, and are not diverted for nefarious purposes. Our members’ efforts are evidence of this commitment,” NACDS wrote.
NACDS also emphasized chain pharmacy’s commitment to partnering with state and federal agencies, law enforcement, policymakers and others to “work on viable strategies to prevent abuse” while also ensuring patients with a legitimate medical need have access to their medications.