Last month, President Barack Obama signed into law the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016,” legislation backed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).
The new law, according to NACDS, is expected to advance collaboration among health and enforcement authorities to achieve solutions to abuse of controlled substances and to help maintain patients’ access to these medications.
NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, noted that the passage of the bill is a positive step forward for individuals who have been affected by prescription drug abuse and for those who were not able to access controlled substances for legitimate pain relief.
More help for pain patients
In an opinion piece, published last year by The Tampa Tribune, Anderson and Paul Gileno, president of the U.S. Pain Foundation, stressed the need for collaboration and dialogue among the stakeholders, including health authorities, law enforcement, patient advocates, prescribers, pharmacists, and others.
“One of the many issues on which we agree is that the current culture of enforcement has not taken into sufficient consideration the needs of pain patients. For example, throughout the regulatory debate that led to new restrictions on certain pain medications, our organizations made the case that doing so would impact patients in real need of these medications to help them manage their pain,” they wrote in their editorial.
A nuanced approach
Anderson said last month that “the new law is one part of the culture change that needs to occur to make possible a nuanced approach to this complex issue.” He thanked the President for signing the bill and the Congressional leaders for their support, as well as patient advocates, law enforcement community, and others for moving this bill forward.
“This legislation advances NCPA’s dual aim of reducing prescription drug abuse while ensuring access for patients with legitimate medical need for prescription painkillers,” Hoey stated in a press release. “NCPA worked constructively with Congress and stakeholders in the development of this legislation.”