NACDS' Nicholson testifies before House panel, highlights pharmacy's commitment to curbing Rx diversion, abuse

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Thursday testified before the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to emphasize retail pharmacy’s commitment to preserving patient safety and high-quality care.

NACDS’ Kevin Nicholson, a registered pharmacist and NACDS’ VP government affairs and pharmacy advisor, testified before the subcommittee during its hearing titled “Prescription Drug Diversion: Combating the Scourge.”

Nicholson emphasized chain pharmacies’ “zero tolerance” for prescription drug diversion.  In his comments he stated, “We have implemented a variety of extensive and robust loss prevention and internal security systems, from our prescription drug distribution centers to point of dispensing to patients.”

He cited examples, including the use of camera surveillance and complex alarm systems, training employees how to handle suspicious prescriptions and conducting background checks and random drug testing for employees.

Nicholson also highlighted chain pharmacies’ participation in state prescription drug monitoring programs.

“We support policies to prevent illegitimate Internet drug sellers from illegally selling prescription drugs to consumers, and we support efforts to provide consumers with means for the proper disposal of unwanted medications in ways authorized by law enforcement,” Nicholson stated before the panel.

As reported by Drug Store News, NACDS earlier in the week endorsed H.R. 4095, “The Online Pharmacy Safety Act,” which it says would take important steps to shut down illegitimate Internet drug sellers.

In his testimony, Nicholson also cited NACDS’ engagement with the Drug Enforcement Administration on diversion trends and to assist in developing strategies to mitigate and reduce problems.

“For the ultimate good of patients who rely on access to controlled substances for legitimate purposes, such as pain management, we urge DEA to take a holistic approach when developing policies to pursue enforcement actions,” Nicholson stated.

NACDS stated that it is highly engaged in efforts to remedy this problem, working with the Food and Drug Administration to develop prescription drug risk management programs, called REMS, to reduce the potential for addiction and abuse of prescription drugs; as well as routinely meeting with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, on trends and solutions.

Summarizing NACDS' commitment to finding solutions to combat prescription drug diversion and abuse, Nicholson stated, “We are proud of the comprehensive approach that chain pharmacies have taken, and look forward to continuing our work with federal and state policymakers to implement solutions, including expanding prescription drug monitoring programs, shutting down illegitimate Internet sites, and providing consumers with the ability to safely dispose unwanted prescription drugs.” 

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