Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Tom Marino (R-PA) introduced H.R. 4069, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014, to help prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion and ensure patient access to necessary medications by creating a more collaborative partnership between drug manufacturers, wholesalers, retail pharmacies and federal enforcement and oversight agencies.
"Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans each year," Blackburn said. "The recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman reminded us of the tragic outcomes that can come from prescription drug abuse. It's important that the federal government and industry stakeholders work together to ensure that the prescription drug supply chain is safe and secure for the patients that truly rely upon it to alleviate pain and treat illnesses."
"I look forward to working with Congressman Marino to ensure that law enforcement has the tools they need to respond decisively to bad actors and that industry stakeholders have the assurances of due process, and are shielded from disabling disruptions in the supply chain that can endanger the health and safety of individual patients."
Blackburn and Marino's legislation has gained the support of the National Community Pharmacists Association, the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
"The goal of ensuring that patients and caregivers have access to necessary medications does not have to conflict with effective law enforcement and regulation designed to address the prescription drug abuse epidemic," Rep. Marino said.
Marino added, "Greater collaboration between federal law enforcement agencies and industry, bred by more clarity in the Controlled Substances Act, will help prevent diversion and protect consumers against disruptions in the supply chain."
H.R. 4069 has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, of which Reps. Blackburn and Marino are members (respectively).