Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) says momentum is building for her legislation to provide tough new standards of education for prescribers of powerful prescription painkillers, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now supporting a key provision in the legislation.
That support, which came at a briefing called by Bono Mack and Congressman Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) -- Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse -- was welcomed by supporters of the Ryan Creedon Act of 2011 (H.R. 2119).
The legislation would establish a minimum standard of education for prescribers of powerful pain medications, ensuring that anyone who can prescribe powerful pain medication knows how addictive the drugs can be.
"This is an important step forward and will assist us in our efforts to pass the bill," said Bono Mack. "But clearly more needs to be done to address the rampant problem of prescription drug diversion. The FDA and the DEA have many tools to work with, and not enough is being done to ensure the safety of our children."
Bono Mack and Rogers requested the briefing to receive details of the agency's ongoing efforts to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic, and to push for additional steps to be taken. Also addressed were the FDA's Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), and the need for better prescriber education, enhanced data collection, and reform to existing prescribing guidelines.
"Unquestionably law enforcement, education, treatment all have a crucial role in combating this national epidemic -- but when it comes to testing, evaluating and monitoring these powerful prescription drugs, the buck stops at the FDA," stated Congressman Rogers. "I'm extremely pleased the Agency has finally wised up to take some positive steps, including promoting prescriber education, minimizing the risks associated with these drugs, and incentivizing the development of abuse-resistant drugs, among others. I and others in the caucus intend to keep the heat on."
Last year, Bono Mack and Rogers established the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug abuse to shed light on the problem of prescription drug abuse and to unite like-minded policy-makers dedicated to the development of innovative and effective policy solutions. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), illegal prescription drug diversion is now our nation's fastest growing drug threat.
Members of the Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus have worked together before, partnering on Bono Mack's Stop Oxy Abuse Act of 2011. The Stop Oxy Abuse Act would revise FDA classifications to ensure that oxycodone painkillers are only prescribed for severe pain.