NACDS today welcomed the introduction of legislation that would limit to a seven-day supply the initial prescriptions of opioids for acute pain – a move that is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for prescribing opioids. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced the introduction of the legislation, the John S. McCain Opioid Addiction Prevention Act (S. 724).

KEY FACTS

  • CDC notes that, for acute pain, “three days or less will often be sufficient; more than seven days will rarely be needed.”
  • The bill is consistent with one of NACDS’ priority public policy recommendations to help further address the opioid abuse epidemic. The recommendations relate to initial-prescription limits for acute pain; prescription drug monitoring plans (PDMP); drug disposal; and mandatory electronic prescribing.
  • The legislation would build on the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, enacted in 2018, which is consistent with all of NACDS’ recommendations and which was particularly helpful in requiring electronic prescribing for Schedule II through V controlled substances prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D – with limited exceptions to ensure patient access.
  • In addition to its public policy recommendations, NACDS and pharmacies maintain longstanding and ongoing initiatives to prevent opioid abuse, including compliance programs; advancing e-prescribing; drug disposal; patient education; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics; and more.

“The seven-day limit for initial acute-pain opioid prescriptions is consistent with pharmacists’ recommendations from the front-lines of care, their collaboration with law enforcement, and the needs of chronic pain sufferers. Six-in-10 Americans support this measure, with only two-in-10 indicating opposition, according to a January 2019 Morning Consult poll commissioned by NACDS. This bill will help prevent addiction and help prevent unused medications from falling into the wrong hands. Our support reflects pharmacies’ longstanding commitment to serve as part of the solution.”

– NACDS President & CEO Steven C. Anderson, in a press release issued by Sen. Gillibrand and Sen. Gardner

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