Arlington, Va. – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016 (S. 483) in the same version passed by the Senate, making President Obama’s consideration and signature the final step before enactment.

The legislation, advocated by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), would advance collaboration among health and enforcement authorities to achieve drug abuse solutions that maintain patients’ legitimate access to medications.

“This legislation is consistent with NACDS’ position that the complexity of these issues demands a 100-percent commitment to patient care and a zero tolerance for abuse,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “We appreciate the leadership of Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), House Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for a tremendous accomplishment: guiding an excellent piece of legislation to the brink of becoming law.”

The Senate passed S. 483 on March 17, 2016. The House previously passed a slightly different version one year ago – in April 2015.

NACDS has noted that the steady progress of the legislation in the Congress can be considered to be highly consistent with public attitudes. In an opinion study commissioned by NACDS last summer, likely voters who are engaged and aware when it comes to current events indicated through their responses an appreciation for the need to address drug abuse and drug access in a complementary manner.

Nearly 8-in-10 respondents agreed with the statement: “Pharmacies have a dual role when it comes to battling prescription drug abuse: They have to be part of the solution by working with law enforcement officials to stop prescription drug abuse, but they also have to maintain their responsibilities to patients by making sure they receive the medications they legitimately need.”

NACDS prepared a timeline of significant events related to this legislation’s journey through Congress.