House vote expected on bipartisan bill targeting Rx drug abuse

ARLINGTON, Va. — A bipartisan bill that calls for a collaborative, coordinated approach to curbing prescription drug abuse and safeguarding patients is headed to the U.S. House for a vote on Tuesday.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has emphasized its support of this legislation since its introduction, urging lawmakers to pass the bill in the interest of patients.

The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2013 (H.R. 4709) would establish a congressionally mandated report from the Department of Health and Human Services to explore opportunities to better coordinate federal and stakeholder activities in addressing prescription drug abuse and diversion without compromising access to medications for patients who legitimately need them.

Sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., Energy and Commerce Committee vice chair Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Rep. Peter Welch, (D-Vt., and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., and co-sponsored by 10 representatives, the bill’s designated HHS report would be facilitated in consultation with the Drug Enforcement Agency and Office of the National Drug Control Policy, and with input from specific stakeholders, including pharmacy.

“We applaud Reps. Marino and Blackburn for their leadership on this bipartisan bill, and commend the House for bringing the bill to a vote, stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “NACDS and chain pharmacy are committed to partnering with federal and state agencies, law enforcement personnel, policymakers and other stakeholders to work on viable strategies to simultaneously advance patient health and prevent prescription drug abuse.  Today’s vote is a step closer to achieving these goals.”

“Looking ahead, we urge the U.S. Senate to move swiftly in passing legislation that will achieve this vital goal," Anderson said.

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