U.S. House Passes Bill to Address Patient Access to Prescription

U.S. House Passes Bill to Address Patient Access to Prescription

HouseAn indication that some think the federal government has gone too far in its efforts to rein in prescription drug abuse may have come today when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act.

The bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to work jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy to assess obstacles to legitimate patient access to controlled substances, and to identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.

The DEA ruled last October to change hydrocodone combination products from Schedule III to a stricter Schedule II which has led to some access issues for chronic pain sufferers.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) are among those praising the bill.

“Prescription drug abuse, addiction and patient access to medically-necessary medications are complex issues that are not mutually exclusive. Addressing one problem can lead to unintended consequences. That’s why the passage of H.R. 471 today is paramount: it looks at the big picture and seeks to bring together all stakeholders – patients, law enforcement, pharmacy, prescribers and others – to find the best solution to prevent abuse and addiction and ensure that patients have access to their medications,” said NACDS President and CEO Steve Anderson.

“NCPA supports this legislation in the hope that it can help achieve a better balance to reduce prescription drug abuse while ensuring those patients with chronic, debilitating pain have access to essential medications,” added NCPA DEO B. Douglas Hoey.

“Currently the state of federal law enforcement coordination and communication with private health care stakeholders is woefully inadequate. As a result, patients with legitimate medical needs and community pharmacists experience the collateral damage of blunt-force tactics such as arbitrary quotas on supplies of controlled substances and abrupt supply cut-offs,” he added.

The bill (HR 471), which now moves onto the U.S. Senate for consideration, was introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Tom Marino (R-Pa.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 17 comments for this article
  1. Janny K at 1:41 pm

    This Bill named all the agencies and groups that it requires to form a committee to figure out how to fix the problems we’re having with access to narcotics without making any of those drugs any easier to divert to dealers or addicts.

    The committee suggested in the Bill makes good sense, and I fully support it. I’ve been in pain 24//7/365 for almost 10 years now, however would support reasonable steps to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands. Yes, it’s an inconvenience, however I believe it will save lives.

  2. Dennis Kinch at 8:52 pm

    I think we all can thank the passage of Obamacare for the strides we are seeing. It mandates a lot of stuff for patients to lawmakers and the politicians are lining up to some good ol’ ass kissin’! After reading The Affordable Care Act, especially the codicils which were sort of “ducked in” to other parts I was wondering when someone would notice. Someone noticed!

    So when you hear these fools criticizing Obama, jump on them! Remember, many presidents and congressional bodies have had ideas for health care reforms and by rights, this should have happened with Hillary’s bill back in the 90’s, but when they jumped on her and said her bill was no good, nobody came to her aid! And we all paid the price. (And her bill was very good!)

    Obama did the miraculous, and although he had do his own ass kissin’ to get the thing passed, which cost us the more brilliant bill, he did get it done! FDR considiered it a US citizen’s right along with Social Security and Unemployment! We sure could use someone like him again.

    At any rate, congrats to all us. This is our time! Rally ’round the pole and get out the vote! Convince all of your friends to join pain patient websites! We are becoming a force to be reckoned with!

  3. Brenda Alice at 2:25 am

    I pray that this bill will change the treatment of patients with chronic pain. The only way it will work is for all health-care workers to be informed and the DEA interference stopped. Thank you to the advocates that worked for this bill. It’s a start.

  4. John Sandherr at 8:00 pm

    ” The bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to work jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy to assess obstacles to legitimate patient access to controlled substances, and to identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs.”

    I’m sorry but I fail to see how this will benefit anyone that takes potent or large doses of pain medicine.

    The government is convinced as are most doctors that using opiates is not a solution to pain – forget about the 2,000 years of history that shows that bi-products of the Poppy plant do help patients with severe chronic pain

    Look at what the Veterans Hospitals are doing now; patients are pulled off their pain medicine after 15 years of effective use. In their place are new and untested drugs that were or are used for depression and other severe cases of mental illness. NSAIDS are on the rebound even though some short term use can cause severe stomach problems ( bleeding ulcer ), kidney and liver problems.

    Opiates cause – CONSTIPATION
    Lyrica causes – INDEGESTION
    Its already started, the more effective medicine is given harsh side effect names and the new Drugs are given candy coated names – Minor or Uncomfortable side effects.

    Adding more bureaucracy to the mix and I cant help but think it will not only take longer to get the medicine we need but the government will feel they are better qualified to determine who gets what and how much. With all the new drugs and dime store muscle spasm machines on the market now the amount of money to be made from the claim of Pain Relief we might see the end of pain medicine use for chronic pain patient’s.

    When was the last time our government took over because they felt they had a ” Better Way ”. My experience tells me the Bill will only make getting opiate medication harder for non fatal cancer patients or Chronic Pain patients. They want control and they want to make it look as though they are winning the War on Drugs even if we are the victims of their political blunder.

    I’ll be the first to admit there is a problem but the solution is not to get put tighter controls on medicine that is already locked up.

    Don’t hold your breath on this one.

    jjs

  5. marty at 4:54 am

    It’s all talk until something is actually done. Those of us in seriously pain every month still cringe at hoping our pain meds will be filled with no problems. For people with true chronic pain from serious injuries or a body falling apart after a lifetime deserve to live it somewhat comfortable. Our hips and knees are falling apart and our backs are so bad that we need these aides to help us thru a day of just being able to get from one room to the other. Just to live another day for family. They tried me on every patch know to man and every combo of drugs that made me feel like the life inside me was dying. I am now back on Hydrocodone and it’s enough to dull the pain so I don’t pray to die every day. I fear from talk in groups with people that are having such a hard time getting their meds that you will see more and more suicides because if you have never lived with chronic pain you haven’t a clue

  6. ginbug at 12:21 am

    It sounds great; but so have many of the things they have done. All were supposed to make things better for legitimate pain patients & harder for addicts & dealers. So far that has not happened because dealers are still dealin’, abusers are still abusin’, & pain sufferers are sufferin’ more than EVER!!! Prayers said & fingers crossed!!!!!

  7. BL at 2:58 pm

    Be sure and read the Entire Bill and not just the summaries. Also keep in mind that Drug Abuse and DIversion are considered “imminent danger to the public health or safety.” Chronic pain patients not being able to get pain management and/or their meds is Not considered “imminent danger to the public health or safety,”

    Although this is a little different, doesn’t anyone remember what the ACA says about Better Pain Management for Chronic Non Cancer Pain Patients ? How’s well is that working for Chronic Pain Patients ?

  8. Kathy at 1:46 pm

    Hope a resolution is sooner and not later! In Florida today, Attorney General Bondi staff met with DEA. Keep writing those letters to push for the DEA out of practicing medicine!

  9. John S at 12:54 pm

    After reading what I could find about this BILL
    I’m of the opinion it will only make it harder for most
    people to get pain meds. Without positive proof
    like MRI or X-ray those with undocumented POP- Proof of Pain –
    will most likely be denied narcotic pain medicine.

    When was the last time our government made any drug
    easier to get ?

    My opinion,hope I’m wrong

    John S

  10. Darisse Smith at 12:01 pm

    Hallelujah! Is there something I can sign that says, “About Damn Time?” Hopefully this bill will actually help access instead of muddying the water even more. This also seems like proof that all the restrictions were knee jerk reactions to prescription drug abuse rather than a thoughtful approach to the larger issues.

  11. Lucenior Cross at 7:41 am

    I am a chronic pain sufferer, I do not go here& there seeking pain medication,but recently my Dr at the pain clinic quit prescribing everything except pain medication (even some things I was on before I went to him). He told everyone to get it from our family Dr. My family Dr basically told me I just want to get high & she was not prescribing anything,but she would give me an anti-depressant. True I have my emotional days but I am far from depressed. I do not want the police or the government following my every move personally I find it demeaning. The abuse by some people should not dictate kind of treatment the rest of us get. And that is exactly what this bill it’s doing. It is digging too far into our personal lives. Sure I’m on Medicare/Medicaid but I don’t believe God intended for man to suffer this type humiliation because I worked &paid like everyone else. Thank you!

  12. Brenda Trudy Myers RN at 1:11 am

    wow-thats an awesome start and a win for pain PATIENTS

  13. Adam Olgin at 9:25 pm

    As person who’s in a chronic pain situation, I can tell you the new law and its restrictions on pain medications is a joke! To much power is givin to the insurance companies instead of to the Doctors who studied medicine and know how to treat people! Chronic pain isn’t an addiction but a REAL issue that be falls thousands of people in all walks of life!!! It frustrating when you hurt and you can not get what you need to fuction.! The new laws are so strict nose, that doctors are afraid to give anyone prescribed pain medications! In a hospital setting or other medical places, drug ate given out freely to a patient that needs them. Personally the drug abuse issue that is being told to the general public is a scam, cooked up by “Big Brother”!!!!!! This type of bill has it’s ups and downs but it’s needed so those who Truely need the pain meds can receive them, w/o being told “No you can’t have them or (my favorite) I can’t help you so see someone else!

  14. BL at 4:59 pm

    You can bet if this is made Law that it will be more difficult for chronic pain patients who suffer from chronic pain that is not terminal to get pain med rxs.

  15. John Sandherr at 4:20 pm

    Now it will require a group voice to ensure the needs of Chronic Severe Pain patients are part of the process. Not hearing from people like us will make this Bill a lost cause.

    I do appreciate the effort but action speaks louder.

    John Sandherr

  16. deb moore at 4:15 pm

    Finally. Now how many years will it take to make a difference