Patient Advocate, Healthcare Groups Urge Congress to Address Prescription Drug Diversion and Abuse



November 16, 2012

Alexandria, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) joined pain care advocacy and other healthcare organizations in urging Members of Congress to help address the problem of prescription drug diversion and abuse.

In a letter to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, U.S. Judiciary Committee, U.S. House Committee on Judiciary and the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, the organizations urged Congress to create a commission or advisory group to bring together all government agency stakeholders to address the problem.

The groups wrote, “[We] are committed to partnering with law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and others to work on viable strategies to solve the problems of prescription drug diversion and abuse. Although numerous groups and state and federal entities are working to reduce these problems, success remains difficult to achieve. One challenge is that many of these groups and entities are not working in a coordinated manner.”

The letter emphasized the importance of reducing prescription drug diversion and abuse without negatively impacting legitimate patient access and care.

“While appropriate policies must empower law enforcement officials to act aggressively against individuals and entities actually engaging in diversion or abuse, diversion/abuse control actions must be balanced against the needs of healthcare providers to provide care to legitimate patients. We must ensure that legitimate patients receive critical medicines without interruption,” the groups stated in the letter.

In addition to NACDS, the following organizations signed the letter: American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM); American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN); Center for Practical Bioethics; Inflexxion, Inc.; International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA); National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care (NADONA/LTC); National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association; Pain Treatment Topics; Purdue Pharma L.P.; U.S. Pain Foundation, Virginia Cancer Pain Initiative Inc.

These groups are committed to ensuring patient access to medications they need to help manage their pain, ranging from a variety of health-related issues and diseases. This letter to Congress further stresses the need to find a solution for this problem — and to do so expeditiously.

“Due to the urgent nature of the problems associated with prescription drug diversion and abuse, the advisory group’s recommendations should be provided to Congress within one year of its creation or enactment,” the groups concluded in the letter.

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