Washington, DC – On Monday, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) announced that bipartisan legislation he authored with Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) to help curb fraudulent opioid prescriptions was signed into law as part of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6). This comprehensive bipartisan, bicameral agreement to address the opioid epidemic is the result of many months of Congressional hearings and negotiations to help make treatment more readily available, improve research for new non-addictive prescription painkillers, and help prevent “doctor shopping.”
DeSaulnier and Carter’s bill, originally introduced as the Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act (H.R. 4275), included in the opioid package, would require the Department of Health and Human Services, Drug Enforcement Administration, and other relevant agencies to produce and disseminate materials for pharmacists, health care professionals, and the public that provide guidance on when and how pharmacists can refuse to fill a prescription that they believe to be fraudulent.
“In the last 20 years the opioid prescribing rate has increased by 56 percent, bringing the risk of forged, fraudulent, or altered prescriptions to new heights. Too often these deadly drugs end up in the wrong hands,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “By empowering pharmacists to fully exercise their right to deny suspected fraudulent prescriptions we can help save lives and begin addressing this crisis head on. I am proud to lead this effort with Congressman Buddy Carter, and we look forward to continuing to find new ways to combat this epidemic which has claimed too many lives and devastated many communities nationwide.”
“Approval of this legislation today is great news,” said Congressman Carter. “As a pharmacist for more than 30 years, I know firsthand that in many cases, pharmacists are the last line of defense against patients plagued with addiction or interested in wrongdoing. This legislation will ensure pharmacists and health care professionals have the tools they need in this situation. I am proud to lead this fight with my friend Representative DeSaulnier as it is a critical part of our bipartisan fight to end this crisis.”