ALEXANDRIA, Va. Chain pharmacy leaders on Wednesday hailed the passage in the House of Representatives of three industry-backed bills to help remedy prescription medication abuse and diversion.
The bills, which have the strong support of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, are expected to pass under “suspension of the rules,” which allows for expedited consideration of legislation. The legislation would improve medication disposal techniques, boost the electronic monitoring of controlled substances and put new curbs on the abuse of pseudoephedrine.
Among the three pieces of legislation passed by the House:
- The Safe Drug Disposal Act, which seeks to find a safe and effective means for consumers to dispose of their unused medications, including controlled substances. “NACDS worked with Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to include language ensuring that regulations by the Drug Enforcement Administration will not require any entity to establish a drug disposal program, such as a take back program,” noted the pharmacy group. “This would enable pharmacies and other entities to determine the best means for working with consumers and law enforcement to safely dispose of unused drugs;”
- The National All-Schedules Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act, which would provide new funding for states to establish prescription drug monitoring programs. “Numerous states utilize prescription drug monitoring programs as a tool to curb diversion and abuse of controlled substances,” NACDS reported. “While these programs can be useful to law enforcement in combating diversion, it is important that they not be administratively burdensome or disruptive to patient care activities and the legitimate practices of pharmacy and medicine;" and
- The Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act, which would require all entities that sell products containing pseudoephedrine to certify with the DEA. “NACDS members have long supported efforts to combat methamphetamine abuse and production, even before the introduction of state and federal legislation,” the group noted. “Chain pharmacies took voluntary, proactive steps to reduce the theft and illegitimate use of products containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, and have worked closely with DEA and state and local law enforcement officials to stem the tide of methamphetamine production.”
NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson praised the House of Representatives’ “legislative trifecta,” which he said “illustrates NACDS members' commitment to ensuring that prescription and over-the-counter medications are used appropriately."
“NACDS is hopeful that the Senate will follow suit and pass these pro-patient, pro-pharmacy bills,” Anderson added. “We will continue to urge lawmakers to act in the interest of patients and pass these bills that will help curb prescription medication abuse.”