Arlington, Va. – A letter to the editor written by National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE emphasizing the need for a comprehensive approach to curbing prescription drug abuse and diversion and preserving patient access to prescription pain medication was published in The Washington Post today. Anderson’s letter was written in response to an opinion column published on March 11 titled “The Legal Drug Epidemic.”
The opinion column discussed the evolution of the “epidemic” of prescription abuse of opioid pain medications. The piece suggests that more regulation to combat the abuse problem is the answer, stating, “It appears that reducing the country’s most troubling drug-related public health problem depends on more, and more intelligent, regulation, not less.”
In NACDS’ letter to the editor, Anderson emphasized that the real solution is a collaborative approach that takes into consideration the complexity of this problem. The letter cites NACDS’ support for bipartisan federal legislation in the U.S. Senate and House titled the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015 (S. 483 and H.R. 471). The bills seek to bring together key law enforcement, government agencies, healthcare and other stakeholders to develop a framework that will help legitimate patients access their necessary medications, and work to address drug abuse, addiction and diversion.
Anderson’s letter was published in today’s print edition, and is also available on The Washington Post website.
The full text of NACDS’ letter to the editor can be found below:
The article, “The Legal Drug Epidemic” (March 11) suggests that regulation is needed to combat prescription drug abuse. I would argue that the real remedy is a holistic approach to help ensure patient access to medications and also help curb prescription drug abuse and diversion.
This solution requires collaboration among law enforcement and the healthcare community to a degree that does not currently exist. We support H.R. 471 and S. 483, the bipartisan Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015, which calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Drug Enforcement Administration to identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders, including pharmacy, can benefit patients and prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion.
Community pharmacies maintain zero tolerance for drug diversion, and a 100-percent commitment to serving legitimate patient needs. Pharmacists take seriously their role to help patients obtain the legitimate treatment they need, and pharmacists also must help to identify prescription drug abuse.
Congress should deliver the collaboration that fosters patient health while attacking drug abuse and diversion.