NACDS submitted statements for the record this week to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee for hearings the committees were holding on strategies to combat the opioid crisis. In the statements, NACDS reinforced its commitment to partnering with policymakers, law enforcement and other stakeholders on finding strategies to prevent opioid diversion and abuse.
NACDS noted that pharmacies are engaged every day in actions aimed to prevent the diversion and abuse of all prescription medications, including opioids. NACDS pointed out that public health authorities recognize that the face-to-face interactions pharmacists have with patients on a daily basis make them profoundly aware of the challenges and complexities of the opioid epidemic. The statements stated that a key aspect for pharmacists is to guard against abuse without impeding access to medications for patients who need them.
NACDS underscored its four public policy solutions to address prescription opioid abuse in communities across the country:
- Require prescriptions to be issued electronically. In the House statement, NACDS said it supported the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act (H.R. 3528) and thanked subcommittee member Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s (R-OK) original cosponsorship of the legislation. Notably, NACDS this week endorsed the Senate version of the legislation, the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act (S. 2460), which would help address the opioid-abuse epidemic by requiring that controlled substances for Medicare Part D beneficiaries are prescribed electronically.
- Create a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) through collaboration
- Provide manufacturer-funded mail-back envelopes for unused opioid drugs, available to patients at pharmacies upon request
- A seven-day supply limit for initial opioid prescriptions issued for acute pain
The House Committee is expected to hold more hearings that will center on public health and prevention legislation and insurance coverage-related measures prior to advancing legislation in the coming weeks.
Visit AccessAgenda.NACDS.org for more information on NACDS’ proactive advocacy for public policy solutions to help address the opioid abuse epidemic—and other issues.