ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Legislation recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., which is intended to reduce the abuse of prescription drugs by fostering greater collaboration among stakeholders and implementing new safeguards, has received the endorsement of the National Community Pharmacists Association.
“America is in the throes of a prescription drug abuse crisis,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey. “No one wants to address it more than community pharmacists, who are the experts in the proper use of prescription medication and who understand the consequences of drug diversion and abuse. We commend Representative Marino for his leadership in this area. Our support for this legislation reflects the constructive approach that NCPA has taken to working with federal and state policymakers, law enforcement and all stakeholders in support of effective, practical solutions to the prescription drug abuse epidemic, while preserving access to medication for those with legitimate health needs.”
The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act (H.R. 4069) would amend the Controlled Substances Act and implement the following reforms:
- Require manufacturers and distributors registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration to ensure that their employees with access to controlled substances satisfy criminal background checks and drug tests; and
- Establish a Combating Prescription Drug Abuse Working Group of federal and state officials as well as private sector stakeholders dedicated to examining ways to reduce abuse and diversion. Members of the panel would include a representative of community pharmacy. It would also be a forum by which concerns of independent community pharmacies may be addressed.
In presentations to Congress, the FDA and DEA, NCPA has recommended steps to combat prescription drug abuse while protecting patients. They include utilization of electronic prescription drug monitoring programs and tracking systems, more effective education of prescribers, shutting down rogue pain clinics, offering more disposal options for excess medications and more scrutiny of controlled substances delivered by mail order pharmacies.