The U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation authored by Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to combat prescription drug abuse. H.R. 4709, the Ensuring Patient Access to Effective Drug Enforcement Act, which Blackburn authored with Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Judy Chu (D-CA), would 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. It is a problem that is in great need of a solution," Blackburn said. "That is why I worked with my colleagues Tom Marino, Peter Welch and Judy Chu, in sponsoring this bipartisan legislation to facilitate greater collaboration between industry stakeholders and regulators in our nation's effort to combat prescription drug abuse, while also ensuring that patients who need medication are able to receive it.
"Simply acknowledging the epidemic of prescription drug abuse isn't enough. Congress has a responsibility to make sure the law is crystal clear for both DEA and legitimate businesses who want to understand what the rules are so they can do the right thing. That is why I am so pleased the House has acted today on our legislation that seeks to ensure the prescription drug supply chain is safe and secure for the patients that truly rely upon it to alleviate pain and treat illnesses."
H.R. 4709 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by voice vote. Congressman Blackburn has been a leader in the fight to combat prescription drug abuse since her 2012 letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging greater collaboration between HHS and DEA with industry stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain.