NACDS, NCPA leaders attend opioid abuse prevention bill signing
President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), with representatives from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association in attendance. The legislation included all aspects of all four of NACDS’ policy recommendations regarding opioid abuse prevention, and NCPA noted that in included several provisions it had backed as well.
“NACDS offered legislative recommendations based on pharmacists’ first-hand experiences on the front lines of healthcare delivery, and we appreciate the work of the Trump Administration and of members of Congress to reflect these important perspectives in this new law,” said Steve Anderson, NACDS president and CEO. NACDS member companies represented and recognized at the event include CVS Health, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart.
“Community pharmacists remain on the front lines, fighting against this epidemic and working to educate patients on appropriate use of opioids, safeguard against addition, and promote proper disposal of prescription opioids,” said NCPA president Doug Hoey. “We applaud provisions in this package that will help us do these things and help the millions of Americans affected by opioid use disorders, though we know the work on this is far from over. With National Prescription Drug Takeback Day just a few short days away on Oct. 27, what a fitting week for President Trump to be signing the bipartisan opioid relief package into law.”
The legislation includes the provisions of the NACDS- and NCPA-backed electronic prescribing bill. The legislation will require e-prescibing for Schedule II through IV controlled substances under Medicare Part D starting in 2021. Notably, the bill includes exemptions for skilled nursing facility patients, as well as language to ensure that e-prescibing wouldn’t infringe on patients’ going to the pharmacy of their choice, NCPA said. as well as the provisions of an NACDS-backed drug disposal bill that is consistent with the flexibility urged by NACDS and with pharmacies’ current initiatives.
In a January national survey conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS, 3-in-4 voters — on a non-partisan basis — supported rules that all prescriptions must be handled electronically, rather than by paper or fax, as a way to help address the opioid abuse epidemic.
The bill also reflects the spirit of NACDS’ recommendations on prescription drug monitoring programs and on initial-fill limits for acute pain. In addition to reflecting NACDS’ opioid-specific policy recommendations, which NACDS announced on October 24, 2017, H.R. 6 also enhances eligibility for the Medicare Part D Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program to include at-risk beneficiaries.
“NACDS’ recommendations were crafted to build on pharmacy’s long-standing 100% commitment to patient care and zero-tolerance for drug abuse. We pledge our continued commitment to serving as part of the drug-abuse solution, including in the implementation phase of this new law and in other facets of this highly complex national challenge,” Anderson said in a statement.
Regarding drug disposal, H.R. 6 reflects the Access to Increased Drug Disposal Act. The related provisions will create a demonstration program to provide federal grant funding to states to assist drug disposal authorized collectors with the cost to purchase, install, and maintain drug take-back kiosks; the cost to dispose of collected unwanted prescription drugs; and the cost to train staff in operating the kiosks with the goal of improving take-back programs and participation in the states.
NCPA said it worked to ensure the bill would require the development and distribution of materials to train pharmacists on circumstances when they are allowed under law to decline to fill a prescription for a controlled substance.
Kroger, Cardinal Health to host drug take-back events
Kroger and Cardinal Health are joining forces to host several drug take-back events on Oct. 27.
The events, which are part of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, will be held at more than 200 Kroger Family of Pharmacy locations.
“Kroger is committed to partnering with our associates, customers, communities and companies like Cardinal Health to help solve the opioid epidemic,” Colleen Lindholz, president of the Kroger Pharmacy and The Little Clinic, said. “The drug take-back events are one part of our comprehensive commitment, which includes offering naloxone—the life-saving medication—at our 2,300 pharmacy locations across the country to combat the health crisis.”
In addition, it will also provide safe, convenient and anonymous ways to dispose of unused or expired medications.
Throughout the event, Kroger’s pharmacy associates will provide participants with educational resources around prescription drug misuse, the companies said.
“Drug take-back events are a key component of our Generation Rx program, which is designed to teach people of all ages about using medications safely,” Jessie Cannon, vice president of community relations at Cardinal Health said. “We created Generation Rx in partnership with the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy nearly a decade ago and have reached more than a million children, young people and adults with its critical resources and messages. Under the umbrella of Generation Rx and our Opioid Action Program, we are pleased to continue the partnership with Kroger around these community-based take-back events.”
Kroger and Cardinal Health’s 2018 drug take-back locations can be found on the respective store banner’s website or the take-back day section of Kroger’s website.
CVS Health expands 2 prescription opioid abuse prevention efforts
CVS Health is enhancing and expanding two initiatives focused on preventing prescription opioid abuse.
To do this, the Woonsocket, R.I.-based company will install an additional 1,100 safe medication disposal units in its CVS Pharmacy locations and local police departments by the end of 2019. This will bring its total to more than 2,700.
In addition, the company also is committed to reaching an additional 250,000 students and parents by expanding its opioid abuse prevention education program, Pharmacists Teach. CVS Health will bring the total number of participants and community participants reached to more than 655,00 by the end of 2019, the company said.
“CVS Health is dedicated to helping the communities we serve address and prevent opioid abuse through our commitment to many different programs and partnerships, including increasing access to safe medication disposal and youth opioid abuse prevention education,” Thomas Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer at CVS Health said. “We have seen firsthand the impact our efforts have already made and we are excited to expand and enhance these initiatives even further.”
Th company has already installed safe medication disposal units in more than 750 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide and donated more than 900 additional units to community locations. CVS Health also has already educated more than 400,000 students and parents about the dangers of prescription opioid abuse with its Pharmacists Teach program, the company said.