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HDA Statement on President Trump's Announcement on the Opioid Crisis

October 26, 2017

ARLINGTON, Va. — Following President Trump’s announcement on the response to the opioid epidemic, Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) President and CEO John M. Gray issued the following statement.

“We welcome the Administration’s declaration of a public health emergency on opioid abuse. This is a national tragedy, and our industry supports every possible effort to reduce the use of opioids while preserving access for those in pain for whom there are limited options.

“While meaningful progress has been made to address the root causes of the epidemic, including the release of new clinical guidelines that can help stem the prevalence of overprescribing, more can be done to address and prevent opioid abuse and misuse among patients and medical providers.”

On Wednesday, HDA sent a letter to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, outlining several practical solutions that distributors and the broader health system can take to reverse the trend of abuse and misuse. These include:

  • Enhancements to state prescription drug monitoring programs;
  • Appropriate guidelines for and limitations on opioid prescriptions;
  • Steps to facilitate providers’ use of e-prescribing for controlled substances;
  • Reduced barriers to coverage of alternative pain treatments, as well as greater access to naloxone in emergency situations; and,
  • Improved patient education on safe use of pain treatments and on the options for disposing of unwanted medicines.

HDA believes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) should continue to evaluate the supply of opioid based medicines, and is encouraged to see DEA’s recent use of its authority to reduce the manufacturing quotas for these products.

In HDA’s letter to the Commission, the Alliance reaffirmed its leadership role in combating diversion and abuse and its commitment to working with partners across the supply chain in order to protect the public health:

“The pharmaceutical distribution industry is committed to addressing this urgent public health crisis. Drug abuse and misuse is a complex and challenging problem that calls for a collaborative effort on the part of providers, pharmacists, distributors, manufacturers, health plans and state and federal authorities to address the root causes of the epidemic. While distributors do not prescribe or dispense drugs directly to patients, they do share a common goal with their healthcare partners, law enforcement officials and policymakers to provide a safe supply of medicines to those patients with legitimate medical needs and prevent diversion of those medicines throughout each step of the supply chain. 

“As logistics experts, we bring our experience on the frontlines of delivering critical medicines and supplies to more than 200,000 pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities and clinics around the country, and we stand ready to work with stakeholders across the health system on measures that would have a meaningful impact on reversing the trend of opioid abuse and misuse.”  

To view HDA’s letter to the Commission, click here. To view the industry’s policy recommendations, click here.

ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE DISTRIBUTION ALLIANCE

The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and more than 200,000 pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, safely and efficiently. The HDA Research Foundation, HDA’s non-profit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.

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