PHARMACY

NACDS commends Colorado e-prescribing law to prevent opioid abuse

BY Sandra Levy

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is praising Colorado’s enactment of an electronic prescribing bill (SB19-079) that would require prescriptions for controlled substance prescriptions for Schedules II-IV to be submitted electronically, which will help in the fight against opioid abuse.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, yesterday signed the bill into law, which will become effective Jan. 1, 2021.

NACDS recognized the bipartisan leadership of State Sens. Nancy Todd and Kevin Prioli, and State Reps. Daneya Esgar and Lois Landgraf.

NACDS also is praising the Colorado Retail Council’s Angie Howes, who advocated for the proactive approach to opioid abuse prevention.

The legislation enjoys popular and nonpartisan support in the state for mandatory e-prescribing. A January 2019 survey, conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS, found that 64% of Colorado registered voters support rules that all prescriptions must be handled electronically, rather than by paper or fax, to reduce the likelihood of fraud and abuse. Only 21% indicated opposition.

“With the enactment of this legislation, Colorado has taken significant action to help curb the opioid abuse crisis. Seventeen states have enacted e-prescribing legislation, which helps to increase security and curb waste, fraud and abuse. NACDS appreciates this important achievement in Colorado toward an even more comprehensive approach to the solution,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

President Trump in 2018 signed into law federal legislation—the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act—which includes provisions of the NACDS-backed Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act. The new federal law 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.

The legislation is consistent with NACDS’ policy recommendations to help address the opioid-abuse epidemic. These recommendations reflect pharmacists’ firsthand experiences on the frontlines of care, as well as extensive collaboration with law enforcement and health professionals on the complex issue of opioid-abuse prevention.

In addition to e-prescribing, NACDS’ recommendations involve drug disposal, prescription drug monitoring plans, and a seven-day supply limit on the first prescription of an opioid for a patient’s acute – or temporary – pain.

The 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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