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NACDS supports California e-prescribing law to prevent opioid abuse

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores is applauding the enactment of an electronic e-prescribing bill (AB 2789) in California that will help to prevent opioid abuse. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation earlier in the week.

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the bill will require healthcare practitioners, who are authorized to issue prescriptions, to have the capability to transmit electronic data transmission prescriptions. It also will require pharmacies to have the capability to receive those transmissions. The bill also calls for those healthcare practitioners to transmit prescriptions electronically, unless specified exemptions are met.

“NACDS recognizes the leadership of assembly member Jim Wood, the author of this vital legislation, and the leadership of the California State Board of Pharmacy in sponsoring the bill. We also appreciate the tremendous work of the California Retailers Association in advocating for this important opioid-abuse-prevention strategy,” NACDS’ president and CEO Steve Anderson said.

The organization has long supported e-prescribing as part of the solution to the opioid abuse crisis. It was included in the public policy recommendations earlier this year, along with ongoing pharmacy initiatives to prevent opioid abuse, including compliance programs; drug disposal; patient education; security initiatives; fostering naloxone access; stopping illegal online drug sellers and rogue clinics; and more.

“NACDS’ longstanding work and new recommendations to help prevent opioid abuse are rooted in pharmacists’ experiences on the front lines of healthcare delivery,” NACDS said. “We appreciate California’s pivotal action to enhance the use of electronic prescribing, which is one of the core elements of NACDS’ public policy recommendations.”

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores was on the leading edge of working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to allow electronic prescribing of controlled substances. Until 2010, it was not permitted.

A poll conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by NACDS in January 2018 found 73% of California voters support a requirement that all prescriptions must be handled electronically, rather than via paper or fax, as a way to help address the opioid abuse epidemic.

Twelve states now have enacted an NACDS-backed mandate, including six that have enacted such legislation this year. The legislation is pending in additional states, as well.

At the federal level, both U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives have passed the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act (H.R. 3528 and S. 2460). The bill would require that Schedule II through V controlled substances for Medicare Part D beneficiaries are prescribed electronically. The two chambers are expected to negotiate final comprehensive legislation that incorporates other policies focused on opioid-abuse prevention.
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