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NACDS: Bill could coordinate federal action on Rx abuse
July 20th, 2012
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Pending legislation can help align the response of federal agencies to the rising problem of prescription drug abuse and drug diversion, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
In a letter Thursday to Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and to Sen. Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.), ranking member of the committee, NACDS urged lawmakers to include in the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2011 (PAHPA) a provision to create a commission or advisory group consisting of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other stakeholders.
"Although the activities and recommendations of the advisory group should be broad in scope, recommendations should include specific direction for federal agencies to carry out," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson wrote in the letter. "Most importantly, there should be an agreement from all participants to support this collaborative result. We believe this would implement sound federal policies for combating the public health scourges of prescription drug diversion and abuse."
Also in the letter, Anderson cited two other key topics in public health and emergency preparedness: the role of chain pharmacies in health services such as immunizations, and the importance of pharmaceutical supply chain integrity.
"NACDS strongly advocates for the expansion of pharmacists' abilities to provide immunizations so that we may provide immunization services to prevent and mitigate pandemic illnesses," he stated.
PAHPA, too, may provide an opening for addressing security in the pharmaceutical distribution, Anderson added. "We understand that PAHPA may be a vehicle for adding supply chain integrity legislative language currently under consideration and development by the committees of jurisdiction and through the efforts of Sens. [Michael] Bennet [D., Colo.] and [Richard] Burr [R., N.C.]," he wrote in the letter. "As a member of the Pharmaceutical Distribution Security Alliance (PDSA), we support these efforts and look forward to seeing the legislative language under development."