The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) has announced its support of a bill in congress that would improve state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). The bill would push states to create strong PDMPs and help them provide more complete and useful information that could reduce opioid abuse.
The Monitoring and Obtaining Needed Information to Track Opioids Responsibly (MONITOR) Act (H.R. 4236) was introduced by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and has bipartisan support. The act would help create minimum requirements that would incentivize states to maximize use of PDMPs to track controlled-substance purchases. A portion of federal Health and Human Services grants would be used to help states meet the requirements.
Under the MONITOR act, dispensers would be required to report each disbursement of a controlled substance within one business day. It would also improve the way the state programs share information.
“Pharmacists serve patients and their communities on the front lines of health-care delivery, and based on their experiences it is more and more clear that a more unified approach to a PDMP will provide more complete and useful information to prescribers and dispensers alike,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, in a statement.
The statement noted that the bill is “is consistent with comprehensive new public policy recommendations that NACDS has announced.” These include:
- Legislate a 7-day supply limit for initial opioid prescriptions issued for acute pain
- Legislate a requirement that all prescriptions be issued electronically, with limited exceptions
- Create a national prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) through collaboration
- Provide manufacturer-funded mail-back envelopes for unused opioid drugs, available to patients at pharmacies upon request.
The bill would also authorize an advisory group that would include community pharmacists and other health-care providers to help make future recommendations for PDMPs.
Fitzpatrick is vice-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. The bill is co-sponsored by task force chairs Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH) and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), and vice-chair Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ).