Arlington, Va. – Legislation to help curb prescription drug diversion and abuse and protect patients in need of medications received support from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) this week.

The bipartisan bill, H.R. 471, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015, was introduced today by U.S. Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Judy Chu (D-CA).

In a letter to the lead sponsor of the bill, Rep. Marino, NACDS stated, “Your legislation would promote a comprehensive approach to preventing prescription drug diversion and abuse.”

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.

Specifically, H.R. 471 would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to assess obstacles to legitimate patient access to controlled substances, and to identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.

“This legislation would require HHS to consult with patient and provider groups, including pharmacies, among other stakeholders.  We appreciate the recognition of pharmacies as critical stakeholders in efforts to prevent prescription drug diversion and abuse,” NACDS stated in its letter.

Identical legislation introduced in the 113th Congress – also supported by NACDS – was passed by the U.S. House last fall.  The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on H.R. 471 next week.