High-Powered Alliance to Tackle Prescription-Drug Abuse

The new group brings industry organizations together for the first time to address the epidemic.

A picture taken on September 13, 2012 in Paris shows pills and medicines. AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/GettyImages)
National Journal
Sophie Novack
Feb. 28, 2014, 10:07 a.m.

Some of the biggest play­ers in the phar­ma­ceut­ic­al sup­ply chain have teamed up to find solu­tions to the grow­ing prob­lem of pre­scrip­tion-drug ab­use.

The Al­li­ance to Pre­vent the Ab­use of Medi­cines is com­posed of the Amer­ic­an Med­ic­al As­so­ci­ation, CVS Care­mark, Teva Phar­ma­ceut­ic­als, Car­din­al Health, the Health­care Dis­tri­bu­tion Man­age­ment As­so­ci­ation, and Prime Thera­peut­ics.

The group touts mem­ber­ship in­volve­ment across the sup­ply chain — from man­u­fac­turer to dis­trib­ut­or to phar­macy to phys­i­cian — as key to the suc­cess of its mis­sion.

“In or­der to truly move the needle on an is­sue as com­plex and massive as pre­scrip­tion-drug ab­use, there has to be co­oper­a­tion and in­put along the en­tire phar­ma­ceut­ic­al sup­ply chain,” Al­li­ance spokes­per­son Dani­elle Ha­gen wrote in an email. “The al­li­ance has come to­geth­er to provide just that. Each mem­ber or­gan­iz­a­tion re­cog­nizes the need for a com­pre­hens­ive pub­lic health ap­proach to pre­scrip­tion drug ab­use, and each comes to the table with valu­able ex­pert­ise.”

Pre­scrip­tion-drug ab­use has been clas­si­fied as an epi­dem­ic by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. Ac­cord­ing to data from the Na­tion­al Sur­vey on Drug Use and Health, ini­ti­ation rates for non­med­ic­al pain re­liev­er use are second only to marijuana, with 2 mil­lion or more new users every year since 2002 — 500,000 of whom have nev­er used an­oth­er il­li­cit drug.

Pre­scrip­tion-drug ab­use is dif­fi­cult to tackle be­cause it in­volves many dif­fer­ent play­ers and mov­ing parts along the drug sup­ply chain. Thus far, piece­meal le­gis­la­tion that ad­dresses parts of the prob­lem has largely been in­ef­fect­ive.

The Al­li­ance hopes to take a broad­er look at the pre­scrip­tion-drug mar­ket and work with le­gis­lat­ors on Cap­it­ol Hill to find more com­pre­hens­ive solu­tions.

The group plans to main­tain a na­tion­al policy per­spect­ive, while also work­ing with state law­makers. The first fo­cus is on im­prov­ing the Pre­scrip­tion Drug Mon­it­or­ing Pro­gram, which var­ies a great deal from state to state. The Al­li­ance sent a let­ter to the Na­tion­al Gov­ernors As­so­ci­ation that was shared at the winter meet­ing last week, call­ing for a more ro­bust and in­ter­op­er­able sys­tem of PDMPs. The group re­ceived a pos­it­ive re­sponse from those gov­ernors present, ac­cord­ing to a spokes­per­son.

The Al­li­ance is still work­ing through solu­tions on what will likely be a long-term ef­fort, and de­clined to give fur­ther de­tails on oth­er pos­sible pro­pos­als.

What We're Following See More »
SHARES THEIR LOVE STORY
Bill Clinton Gets Personal in Convention Speech
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” started Bill Clinton. In his speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton brought a personal touch, telling parallel stories of his relationship with Hillary Clinton and the work she has done throughout her career. He lauded the Democratic nominee for her career of work, touching on her earliest days of advocacy for children and those with disabilities while in law school, her role as Secretary of State, and her work in raising their daughter, Chelsea. Providing a number of anecdotes throughout the speech, Clinton built to a crescendo, imploring the audience to support his wife for president. "You should elect her, she'll never quit when the going gets tough," he said. "Your children and grandchildren will be grateful."

LOUD “BLACK LIVES MATTER” CHANTS RING OUT
Mothers Of The Movement Endorse Hillary Clinton
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

A coalition of mothers whose children lost their lives in high profile cases across the country, known as the Mothers Of The Movement, were greeted with deafening chants of "Black Lives Matter" before telling their stories. The mothers of Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin spoke for the group, soliciting both tears and applause from the crowd. "Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to comfort a grieving mother," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. "And that's why, in the memory of our children, we are imploring you — all of you — to vote this election day."

SOUTH DAKOTA GIVES HER CLINCHING DELEGATES
Clinton Officially Democratic Nominee for President
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

With the South Dakota delegation announcing its delegate count, Hillary Rodham Clinton is officially the Democratic nominee for president, surpassing the 2383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton is expected to speak at the convention on Thursday night and officially accept the nomination.

THE QUESTION
How Many People Protested in Philly Yesterday?
11 hours ago
THE ANSWER

About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."

Source:
NO BATTLEGROUND STATES LEAN TRUMP
NY Times’ Upshot Gives Clinton 68% Chance to Win
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

Only a day after FiveThirtyEight's Now Cast gave Donald Trump a 57% chance of winning, the New York Times' Upshot fires back with its own analysis that shows Hillary Clinton with a 68% chance to be the next president. Its model "calculates win probabilities for each state," which incorporate recent polls plus "a state's past election results and national polling." Notably, all of the battleground states that "vote like the country as a whole" either lean toward Clinton or are toss-ups. None lean toward Trump.

Source:
×