October 2, 2012
Alexandria, Va. — Urging collaboration among law enforcement and the healthcare community to combat prescription drug abuse and diversion, National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE submitted a letter to the editor to The Wall Street Journal in response to an article published on September 27, titled “Making the ‘Pharmacy Crawl.”
The article illustrates the challenges that patients face when trying to access prescription pain medications for legitimate purposes, given efforts by law enforcement agencies to confront illegal use of these medications.
In its letter to the editor to The Wall Street Journal, Anderson noted one aspect of the solution that it advocates – a legislative approach that would foster unprecedented collaboration among the law enforcement and health communities. This collaboration would be pursued through a national commission including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other entities. NACDS urged this concept during Congress’ consideration of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act this year, and has made the case for it in statements submitted in conjunction with Congressional hearings by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and by the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.
The following is the full text of NACDS’ letter-to-the-editor:
The article “Making the ‘Pharmacy Crawl” (Sept. 27) highlights the need for timely access to pain medications for legitimate patient care, while preventing medications from falling into the wrong hands.
This solution requires collaboration among law enforcement and the healthcare community to a degree that does not exist currently. Therefore, we support the formation of a commission comprised of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration and others. This concept gained interest during this year’s Prescription Drug User Fee Act debate.
Meanwhile, community pharmacies maintain zero tolerance for drug diversion, and a 100-percent commitment to serving legitimate patient needs. Pharmacists take seriously their role in caring for those with chronic needs yet are challenged to identify diversion and abuse. Patients whose therapies require medications should not be penalized for the acts of others. Congress should deliver the collaboration that fosters patient health while attacking drug abuse and diversion.