The Senate this week approved S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), legislation that would adjust existing authorizations and programs to provide a series of resources and incentives to help healthcare providers, law enforcement officials and state and local governments to expand drug treatment, prevention and recovery efforts.

Included in the bill are provisions NACDS sought to modify on a Medicare prescriber and pharmacy lock-in requirement, which would ensure that the Government Accountability Office focuses on the use of real-time databases in pharmacies with common ownership. The real-time database requirement would help guarantee patient access to needed medications, even if the patient changes locations.

NACDS is currently monitoring the CARA House companion bill, H.R.953.

In related news, it is possible that the Senate early next week may consider the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act (S. 483). That legislation, backed by NACDS, would focus on fostering improved collaboration among health and enforcement agencies to arrive at solutions for prescription drug abuse prevention while maintaining legitimate access to medications.