DEA clarifies guidance on forwarding unfilled e-prescribed controlled substances
WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration recently clarified for pharmacists the protocol for forwarding unfilled prescriptions for controlled substances. The DEA’s associate section chief of the liaison and policy section of the DEA’s Diversion Control division Loren Miller clarified that an original e-prescription can be forwarded one DEA-registered retail pharmacy to another in the event they can’t fill it for any reason.
“As posted in the preambles of the [notice of proposed rulemaking] and the [interim final rule], an unfilled original EPCS prescription can be forwarded from one DEA registered retail pharmacy to another DEA registered retail pharmacy, and this includes Schedule II controlled substances,” Miller said in an email to National Association of Boards of Pharmacy CEO Carmen Catizone.
The clarification represents a victory for patients, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, who reached out to the DEA for clarification on the issue in a May letter to the DEA’s Demetra Ashley, the Diversion Control division’s deputy assistant administrator. It removes the step for pharmacists of contacting a physician to send a new prescription when another pharmacy is unable to fill a patients e-prescription.
“Simply put, this guidance encourages the use of electronic prescribing for controlled substances, and removes a substantial barrier to doing so,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “Electronic prescribing has significant advantages over other forms of transmitting a prescription because it reduces opportunities for fraud and abuse.”
The organization has championed e-prescribing of controlled substances as a way to better track prescriptions to monitor for fraud and abuse while ensuring patient access to their medications and reducing the risk of fraudulent prescribing.
"NACDS is unwavering in its commitment to working with all parties to help find and implement solutions to opioid issues, while providing appropriate patient care,” Anderson said. “This has been, and remains, a top priority of NACDS, and we appreciate the DEA's action on this guidance, which we consider to be entirely consistent with patient care and with the proper handling of controlled substances.”
NACDS recently provided comments to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, highlighting the role pharmacies play in curbing the issue.
“Chain pharmacies engage daily in activities with the goal of preventing drug diversion and abuse,” the comments said. “Since chain pharmacies operate in almost every community in the U.S., we support policies and initiatives to combat the prescription drug abuse problem nationwide.”
Rite Aid brings prescription-free naloxone to 2 new states
CAMP HILL, Pa. — Patients in Michigan and South Carolina can now access naloxone without a prescription at Rite Aid pharmacies. The company on Thursday announced the expansion of availability of the overdose reversal drug, making it accessible at 360 pharmacies in the two states.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose is the nation's leading cause of accidental death, with opioids killing over 33,000 people in 2015, more than any other year on record,” Rite Aid EVP pharmacy Jocelyn Konrad said. “The opioid epidemic is a serious public health issue that requires immediate action, and that's why Rite Aid remains committed to increasing customer access to this potentially lifesaving medication and raising awareness in the fight against drug abuse in the communities we serve.”
The company has trained more than 11,000 pharmacists on naloxone dispensing and said it was actively working to further expand availability to more states. With the expansion, Rite Aid now offers naloxone dispensing without a prescription in 25 states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia.
Purdue Pharma co-founder Raymond Sackler dies
GREENWICH, Conn. — Purdue Pharma co-founder Dr. Raymond Sackler has passed away at age 97 following a brief illness, the company announced this week. In addition to his work pioneering the psychopharmacology field, he also was known for his philanthropic efforts.
Sackler completed his undergraduate education at New York University and began pursuing his medical degree in Glasgow, Scotland, where he served as a volunteer plane spotter in the U.K. home guard in the first year of World War II. He completed his medical degree at the Middlesex University School of Medicine in 1944, and was certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
In 1952 he and his brother Dr. Mortimer Sackler purchased Purdue and set up its headquarters in New York City. For the past 65 years, the company has grown into a global pharmaceutical business. Sackler, alongside his brothers Mortimer and Arthur Sackler, also opened founded the Creedmoor Institute for Pscyhobiological Studies in New York, where they researched the biology of schizophrenia and psychosis.
His philanthropic efforts included support for Convergence Research — a field that brings together mathematics, physics and engineering sciences to better understand biology as it transforms from a qualitative to a quantitative field. Research supported by Sackler’s philanthropy include the sequencing of the human genome, the emergence of nanotechnology and advances in biological imaging.
Also associated with his philanthropic efforts — both directly and through the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation — are the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Sackler Wing, Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine and the Freer and Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution.
During his lifetime, Sackler was conferred honorary degrees from Tel Aviv University, the University of Connecticut and Tufts University, as well as knighthoods in England, France and the Netherlands.
He is survived by his wife Beverly and two sons.