Pharmacists, Physicians Unite to Better Address Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

By Kevin Schweers

NCPA is actively participating in a broad effort of physician, pharmacist, wholesaler and PBM stakeholder groups working to enhance responsible prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances in order to reduce prescription drug abuse. Call it a silver lining in the storm cloud that was the 2013 flare-up in the otherwise collegial and efficient doctor-pharmacist relationship.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), which convened the stakeholders, recently released a “consensus document” reflecting the agreement to date of participating organizations on the issue. Among the consensus points in the document: stakeholder collaboration and coordination must be improved; stakeholder representatives need to review practices and policies to help ensure that they comply with their legal responsibilities; and stakeholders agree on the need for two subsequent “consensus documents.”

The first document would identify agreed-upon “red flags” or circumstances in which the prescribing or dispensing of controlled substances may warrant further scrutiny. The second document would promote effective dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders to address “red flag” situations, taking into account the varying protocols that each participating physician, pharmacist or PBM group may have in place to reduce the abuse or diversion of controlled substances.

NCPA looks forward to continuing to work with the stakeholder coalition in hopes of advancing the war against prescription drug abuse without harming patients in legitimate need of controlled substances.

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