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Missouri enacts legislation to help prevent opioid abuse

BY Sandra Levy

Efforts to help prevent opioid abuse led by the Missouri Pharmacy Association, the Missouri Retailers Association, Missouri state legislators, Gov. Mike Parson, and Sen. David Sater, R have culminated in the enactment of SB 826.

The legislation includes pro-patient, pro-pharmacy, and pro-public-health provisions that industry groups said advance pharmacy scope of practice, enhances patient access to care and contributes solutions to the opioid abuse epidemic.

The provisions, which were backed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores included in the legislation will enable children 7 years old and older to access vaccinations in community pharmacies (down from age 12 years old previously).

The law also addresses opioid concerns by limiting opioid prescriptions to seven days for acute pain (with exceptions) and enabling community pharmacies to voluntarily take back medicines in accordance with federal law.

“With the enactment of these programs, Gov. Parson and Sen. Sater have taken significant action to curb the opioid abuse crisis,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

“NACDS is grateful to the Missouri Pharmacy Association — especially CEO Ron Fitzwater — for its leadership on these landmark legislative achievements, in addition to the Missouri Retailers Association, and NACDS-member pharmacies in Missouri for sharing their firsthand experiences with lawmakers from their vantage point on the frontlines of healthcare delivery.”

NACDS also credited Rep. Lynn Morris, R, House sponsor of the bill; Rep. Robert Ross, R, the House bill handler; Rep. Mike Stephens, R; and Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R.

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E-prescribing bills have banner week

BY DSN STAFF

Laws that push for electronic prescribing of controlled substances have had a big week, both federally and on the state level. On Capitol Hill, the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and in Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law that will require e-prescribing for controlled substances on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

The federal bill, which has been backed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores since it was introduced, would require e-prescribing for all controlled substance prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D in an effort to prevent fraud and abuse. NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson thanked the bill’s sponsors, Reps. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., as well as committee chairman and ranking member Reps. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J.

“Leveraging the benefits of electronic prescribing to help address the opioid abuse epidemic is one of the priority policy recommendations of NACDS, based on the experiences of pharmacists on the front lines of healthcare delivery,” Anderson said. He also praised the signing of the Tennessee bill, which also is consistent with NACDS’ policy recommendations that have been made around the opioid crisis.

“With the enactment of this bill, Governor Haslam and the sponsors of this legislation have acted wisely and swiftly to help curb fraud, abuse and waste and to help address the opioid abuse epidemic,” Anderson said. “NACDS appreciates the leadership of the Tennessee Pharmacy Association, the Tennessee Retail Association, and the NACDS-member pharmacies in Tennessee, for helping to make the case for the new law, based on pharmacists’ experiences on the front lines of healthcare delivery.”

NACDS has found wide support for e-prescribing. A Morning Consults poll commissioned by the group in January found that 74% of Tennessee voters supported a requirement that all prescriptions be handled electronically, with 48% saying they strongly support such a measure. Nationally, 76% said they supported rules regarding required e-prescribing.

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NACDS board members spotlight pharmacy with Capitol Hill fly-in

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON — This week, the board of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores was pounding the pavement on Capitol Hill to share with lawmakers the role that pharmacy plays in the nation’s healthcare system.

The two-day fly in saw NACDS Board members — including president and CEO Steve Anderson; chairman and Walgreens Boots Alliance co-COO Alex Gourlay; vice chairman and Albertsons SVP pharmacy, health and wellness Mark Panzer; and treasurer and CVS Health EVP and CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes, among others — meeting with lawmakers to discuss such issues as provider status legislation, transparency in Medicare Part D, TRICARE, their opposition to the Border Adjustment Tax and other pharmacy-related issues.

The board also visited the headquarters of nonpartisan digital media and survey company Morning Consult to learn more about using opinion research data as an advocacy tool. NACDS’ recently launched Access Agenda microsite features resources based on Morning Consult research and includes a district report that includes information about congressional districts that allow members to quantitatively make a case to lawmakers about how voters feel about pharmacy’s accessibility and trust.

NACDS also supplemented the visit with an ad campaign in such outlets as The Hill, Politico and Roll Call. The ads outlined the organization’s Access Agenda and highlighted pharmacy’s role in providing affordable care.

See photos above of the board members’ visit and meetings with lawmakers.

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