ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Prescription drug abuse and diversion merit a coordinated response across federal agencies, and pending legislation can advance this unified approach, stated National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson in a letter to senators.
In the letter, sent to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and ranking member Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., NACDS urged the senators to include a provision to create a commission or advisory group consisting of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other stakeholders in the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2011.
“Although the activities and recommendations of the advisory group should be broad in scope, recommendations should include specific direction for federal agencies to carry out,” Anderson wrote. “Most importantly, there should be an agreement from all participants to support this collaborative result. We believe this would implement sound federal policies for combating the public health scourges of prescription drug diversion and abuse.”
Anderson also noted in the letter views on two other topics related to public health and emergency preparedness: The role of chain pharmacies in services, including immunizations, and the importance of pharmaceutical supply chain integrity.
“NACDS strongly advocates for the expansion of pharmacists’ abilities to provide immunizations so that we may provide immunization services to prevent and mitigate pandemic illnesses,” Anderson wrote.
Regarding supply chain issues, Anderson stated, “…we understand that PAHPA may be a vehicle for adding supply chain integrity legislative language currently under consideration and development by the committees of jurisdiction and through the efforts of Sens. [Michael] Bennet, D-Colo., and [Richard] Burr, R-N.C. As a member of the Pharmaceutical Distribution Security Alliance, we support these efforts and look forward to seeing the legislative language under development.”
As reported by Drug Store News, NACDS submitted earlier in the week a hearing statement to the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control regarding drug abuse strategies.