Arlington, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) lauded the passage of H.R. 471, the Ensuring Patient Access to Effective Drug Enforcement Act by the House Energy and Commerce Committee today.  H.R. 471 passed by a voice vote in the full committee mark-up of the bill.  In a letter to the committee leadership ahead of today’s mark-up, NACDS reiterated its support for this bipartisan legislation.

In a letter to Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), NACDS stated, “As the face of neighborhood healthcare, we seek to partner with policymakers to develop and implement viable policies and strategies that empower law enforcement to protect Americans against the dangers of prescription drug diversion and abuse while maintaining legitimate patient access to needed medications.”

In the letter, NACDS emphasized the importance of policies such as this bill that enable law enforcement to serve the public and act to address prescription drug diversion and abuse, while still maintaining patient access to medically necessary medications.

“We are pleased that the legislation would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collaborate with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to assess how patient access to medications could be adversely affected by federal and state law enforcement activities, and to identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs,” the letter stated.

NACDS endorsed H.R. 471 when it was introduced last month by U.S. Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Judy Chu (D-CA). Identical legislation introduced in the 113th Congress – also supported by NACDS – was passed by the U.S. House last fall.

On February 4, the Subcommittee on Health agreed to the legislation, which advanced the measure to full-committee consideration.

“NACDS thanks the Committee on Energy and Commerce for the opportunity to support this important legislation. We are committed to working with Congress and other policymakers to promote the health and welfare of our patients, as well as all Americans,” NACDS concluded in the letter.