Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing this week that e-prescribing legislation would prevent forged prescriptions and doctor or pharmacy shopping.

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday passed a package of 22 opioid-related bills combined by the Chairman and Ranking member into one bipartisan vehicle called the Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorders Act of 2018.

Notably, the NACDS-backed Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act (S. 2460) was included in the bipartisan base text. This week’s Senate consideration follows recent action by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, which passed companion legislation (H.R. 3528) on May 9. The legislation would require electronic prescribing for Schedule II through V controlled substances prescriptions covered under Medicare Part D to help prevent fraud, waste and abuse.

Prior to the passage of the bill, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) thanked Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) for including S. 2460 in the overall package.

Bennet credited bipartisan collaboration with his colleagues, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Sen. Elizabeth Warner (D-MA). Bennet said the provision would prevent forged prescriptions and doctor or pharmacy shopping. He said it does that by establishing a process to prescribe opioids and other controlled substances electronically under Medicare. The senator noted that according to the Congressional Budget Office, this would save taxpayers $250 million.

Sen. Heller also voiced his appreciation that the legislation was included and said it “will significantly improve patients’ outcomes, increase drug security and prevent misuse and diversion of opioids.”

Legislating a requirement that all prescriptions be issued electronically, with limited exceptions, is one of four recent policy recommendations released by NACDS.