PHARMACY

NACDS applauds new Texas law to help curb opioid abuse

BY Sandra Levy

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores today praised Texas’ enactment of a bill (HB 2174) to address opioid abuse and addiction, while providing key safeguards to address the needs of those suffering from chronic pain.

Specifically, the new law will require electronic prescribing for controlled substances, to help prevent fraud and abuse. It also will limit the supply of a patient’s first opioid prescription to 10 days, when that prescription is for temporary, or acute, pain. It is important to note that this limit does not apply to prescriptions for ongoing, or chronic, pain. It also does not apply to cancer care, treatment of other illnesses, or end-of-life care.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law June 14, and it will become effective Jan. 1, 2021.

NACDS expressed appreciation for the leadership of Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R, Rep. John Zerwas, R, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for their consistent and enduring work to develop and pass this landmark legislation designed to address opioid abuse and prevention.

This approach to opioid abuse prevention has popular and bipartisan support in the state. A January 2019 survey, conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS, found that 6-in-10 Texas registered voters support an electronic prescribing requirement and support a limit on initial supplies of opioids.

“The enactment of this bill is another important move to help prevent opioid abuse and addiction. Texas becomes the twenty-third state to enact NACDS-backed e-prescribing legislation, which is a clear indication that momentum continues to grow for efforts to increase security and to help curb waste, fraud and abuse,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

This legislation is consistent with NACDS’ policy recommendations for opioid abuse prevention. These recommendations are achieving results at the federal and state levels.

In addition to e-prescribing and initial supply limits, NACDS’ recommendations relate to drug disposal, prescription drug monitoring plans, health plan design, and pain management.

Regarding e-prescribing, while nearly half of the states have enacted an NACDS-backed law, President Trump in 2018 signed into law federal legislation—the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act—which requires electronic prescribing for Schedule II through V controlled substances prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D to help prevent fraud, abuse and waste – with limited exceptions to ensure patient access.

NACDS has been instrumental in advancing the use of electronic prescribing as a safeguard and was on the leading edge of working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to allow electronic prescribing of controlled substances. Until 2010, it was not allowed.

NACDS’ recommendations parallel consistent and ongoing pharmacy strategies to prevent opioid abuse, including compliance programs; drug disposal; patient education; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; and more.

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