ARLINGTON, Va. — U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee vice chair Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., have introduced legislation that would establish a work group to explore opportunities to reduce prescription drug abuse without compromising access to medications for patients who legitimately need them.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Tuesday expressed its support for the new legislation — the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2013 (H.R. 4069).
“NACDS and chain pharmacy are committed to partnering with federal and state agencies, law enforcement personnel, policy-makers, and other stakeholders to work on viable strategies to simultaneously advance patient health and prevent prescription drug abuse,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “This legislation is an important step in addressing one of the most complex public health problems of our day.”
The workgroup would include equitable representation of healthcare and law enforcement entities up to 20 individuals. It would include representatives of the FDA, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, as well as organizations representing patients, pharmacy, prescribers, hospitals, wholesalers, state attorneys general, law enforcement officials, and others with expertise in this area.
“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. We commend Reps. Marino and Blackburn for moving forward with this important concept,” Anderson added.
In its continued efforts to curb prescription drug abuse and diversion and ensure patient access to medications, NACDS has previously supported legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer to collaboratively address the problem through collaboration with law enforcement and healthcare stakeholders.