Baltimore – National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, released the following statement after participating today in a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Summit on the Opioid Crisis at the invitation of CMS Administrator Seema Verma:

“NACDS appreciates the commitment of CMS Administrator Seema Verma and her colleagues in helping to lead the collaboration that will be necessary to address the opioid abuse epidemic. Advancing the health and safety of patients, families, communities and the nation remains the priority of pharmacies, and confronting the opioid abuse epidemic is essential to that goal.

“We shared with CMS a study released today that was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, titled ‘Serving the Greater Good: Public Health and Community Pharmacy Partnerships.’ The study notes that pharmacy already serves as a working partner on critical public health issues, including preventing opioid abuse, and that there are opportunities for public policy to empower even greater pharmacy-based actions and collaboration.

“In addition to recommendations in this study, NACDS presented the new public policy recommendations that we announced recently, including legislating a seven-day supply limit for initial opioid prescriptions issued for acute pain; legislating a requirement that all prescriptions be issued electronically, with limited exceptions; creating a national prescription drug monitoring program through collaboration; and providing manufacturer-funded mail-back envelopes for unused opioid drugs, available to patients at pharmacies upon request.

“We also affirmed NACDS’ broader perspective on opioid issues, as articulated in comments to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

“NACDS’ recommendations and commitment to ongoing collaboration on this pressing issue are rooted in the fact that – every day – pharmacists face a moment of truth. When presented with an opioid prescription, a pharmacist must make decisions as a provider of patient care, and as part of the drug-abuse solution. We are dedicated to working for ever-enhanced approaches, and further collaboration, for the good of our pharmacy team members and for all whom they serve.

“Our recommendations build on existing pharmacy and collaborative initiatives that include compliance and security programs, advancing electronic prescribing, fostering drug disposal access and education, improving naloxone access, and stopping illegal online drug-sellers and rogue clinics.

“Today, we shared our perspective that there are ample opportunities for CMS to help advance the public policy solutions for which we are advocating, and that there also are ample opportunities for all of the stakeholders whom CMS Administrator Verma gathered together to collaborate for these and other solutions as well. NACDS remains completely committed to sustaining and advancing an aggressive, informed and collaborative approach to this highly complex societal issue, and we appreciate the opportunity to participate in this important summit today.”