Senators encourage GAO to investigate ways to collaborate on prescription drug abuse

WASHINGTON — Several senators have requested that the Government Accountability Office look for ways to coordinate the efforts of law enforcement and public health agencies at various levels and nonprofit organizations to address prescription drug abuse.

In a letter addressed to GAO comptroller general Gene Dodaro, the senators wrote, "While many government health and enforcement agencies, public health groups and other stakeholders are working to reduce prescription drug abuse, we have a growing concern about the lack of coordination between the health and law enforcement agencies and stakeholders working to address this issue. Despite sincere efforts by both law enforcement and health providers to communicate, there are growing concerns that uncoordinated efforts could keep legitimate patients from getting access to the drugs they really need."

The senators were Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who led the effort, as well as Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

The letter received support from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. "Community pharmacy appreciates the commitment of Sen. Boxer and Sen. Coburn to pursue a comprehensive approach to a complicated problem," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. "To consider only one aspect of this issue would be a disservice to those whose health conditions require legitimate access to needed medications and to those affected in many ways by abuse and addiction. With this request for a GAO survey, Sen. Boxer and Sen. Coburn are asking the right questions, and the good of all Americans would be served by their receiving good answers."

In other news, the NACDS said that NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd would address attendees of its RxImpact Day event during the welcoming dinner on March 13, while Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., would serve as the keynote speaker at the breakfast briefing the next morning. RxImpact Day, now in its fifth year, brings together pharmacy executives, pharmacists, pharmacy operators, students and others who meet with members of Congress to inform them about the issues facing the industry, as well as encouraging them to visit local community pharmacies in their home states and congressional districts as part of the RxImpact Pharmacy Tour program.


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