Arlington, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) lends its support to S. 483, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015. Introduced by U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) last week, the bill would help ensure patient access to medications and also help curb prescription drug abuse and diversion.

In a letter of support to Sens. Hatch and Whitehouse, NACDS stated, “we are pleased to support this legislation, as it would promote comprehensive and consistent strategies to ensure that patients continue to have access to necessary medications while also addressing and preventing prescription drug diversion and abuse.”

Specifically, S. 483 would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to assess patient obstacles to legitimate access to controlled substances, to identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs, and to provide their findings in a report to Congress.

“We are appreciative that this legislation would require HHS and DEA to consult with patient and provider groups, including pharmacies, among other stakeholders,” NACDS stated in its letter.  “Pharmacies play an important role in efforts to prevent prescription drug diversion and abuse.”

S. 483 is similar to H.R. 471, which passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week.  Introduced last month in the House by Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Judy Chu (D-CA), H.R. 471 is also supported by NACDS.