Reps. Marino, Welch, Blackburn and Chu Applaud Passage of Prescription Drug Enforcement Legislation
Washington D.C.— Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10), Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-07) and Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) applauded the passage of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016. This legislation is expected to be the first significant bill of the 114th Congress enacted to address prescription drug diversion.
This bill, as amended by the Senate, passed the House by unanimous consent today and now awaits the president’s signature. It offers a critical and comprehensive approach to combat prescription drug abuse by increasing collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), prescription drug distributors, and pharmacies. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support and included strong protections for patients’ access to important medicines. It also directs intergovernmental agency collaboration between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the DEA to preserve patient accessibility and better implement drug abuse enforcement.
“With hard work from both my colleagues in the House and Senate, we were able to pass meaningful, bipartisan legislation that will transform drug enforcement by better protecting patients who need prescription drugs and stopping those who would abuse them,” Rep. Tom Marino said. “Prescription drug abuse is a serious epidemic that has riddled our society for too long. I am incredibly proud of this legislation and know that it is an important step in combating the problem. I want to thank Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Judy Chu who joined me in introducing the bill and who have been instrumental in its passage. I urge President Obama to sign this legislation without hesitation or delay so that we may move swiftly towards a safer and healthier America.”
“Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that has claimed too many lives and taken a toll on communities in Vermont and across the country,” Rep. Peter Welch said. “This commonsense step will help keep dangerous drugs out of the wrong hands, while ensuring that patients have timely access to the medications they need.”
“This legislation will result in better protections against the inappropriate use of prescription drugs by bringing greater clarity and transparency to the requirements for safe and secure distribution of these medicines,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn said. “I am so pleased to have helped lead this bipartisan effort with Congressman Marino to ensure that patients who have a legitimate need for medications can receive them while we are battling the drug diversion and abuse problem in this country."
“For millions struggling with chronic pain, prescription pain killers are a life-saver, allowing them to continue with their responsibilities at work and home,” Rep. Judy Chu said. “But the serious potential for abuse has put pharmacists on the front lines of our country’s drug problem. This bipartisan bill will provide more clarity to both pharmacists and law enforcement that will allow us to better balance our needs for strong drug law enforcement and quality health care.”