Community Pharmacists Can Help Combat Prescription Drug Abuse; Urge Feds to Allow Voluntary Pharmacy Disposal Programs of Controlled Substances


Alexandria, Va. - April 14, 2011

Local pharmacists work with patients and law enforcement to combat the abuse of controlled substances and other prescription drugs, but changes to federal policy are needed to allow pharmacists to play a greater role, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) said today in comments submitted to Congress.

"NCPA is committed to working with Members of Congress and state and local law enforcement officials to combat the inappropriate use and diversion of prescription drugs and is committed to working towards sensible solutions," the association stated in comments to a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee holding a hearing entitled, "Warning: The Growing Danger of Prescription Drug Diversion."

In the comments, available in their entirety here, NCPA made the following points:

  • Community pharmacists support national and local efforts to prevent the abuse of both prescription and non-prescription drugs, at the same time recognizing that Congress should not diminish access to effective pain treatments for people who need them.
  • Community pharmacists provide vital patient counseling to help ensure that these medications are not misused, abused or diverted.
  • Consumers want ongoing, convenient and clear drug disposal options and find local pharmacies to be the most convenient location to return unused or expired medicines. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) should consider community pharmacies—already licensed by the DEA and the state—appropriate locations to receive unused controlled substances from patients. To date, over 1,200 community pharmacies are voluntarily participating in NCPA's Dispose My Meds disposal program and collected more than 25,000 pounds of unused or expired medications in the past year alone, but cannot presently accept controlled substances.
  • Illegal Internet pharmacies contribute significantly to drug diversion. NCPA supports efforts to control illegal distribution of controlled substances outside of the community pharmacy setting and strongly recommends that increased emphasis and meaningful oversight be placed on these illicit entities.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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