Representatives DeSaulnier, Carter Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Curb Fraudulent Prescriptions of Opioids

June 14, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), the only pharmacist in Congress, announced that their bipartisan legislation, the Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act (H.R. 4275), which would help curb fraudulent prescriptions of opioids, unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

While the proper prescribing of controlled substances is the responsibility of the prescribing practitioner, pharmacists have a “corresponding responsibility” to ensure that controlled substances are only dispensed pursuant to a valid prescription issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a licensed prescribing practitioner. H.R. 4275 would require the Department of Health and Human Services and the Drug Enforcement Administration to produce and disseminate materials for pharmacists and health care professionals that provide guidance on when and how to refuse to fill a prescription that the pharmacist believes to be fraudulent. The bill is supported by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

“With the opioid prescribing rate increasing by 56 percent over the last 20 years the risk of forged, fraudulent, or altered prescriptions is greater than ever before. We must empower pharmacists—who often serve as the last line of defense in the fight against prescription drug abuse—to exercise their right to deny suspected fraudulent prescriptions. By doing so, we can help prevent these often deadly drugs from ending up in the wrong hands,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “I thank Congressman Carter and the NCPA for their partnership and expertise on this issue, and am pleased that our colleagues on both sides of the aisle saw the need for this important bill to help combat this epidemic.” 

“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,” said Congressman Carter. “I am very glad this commonsense legislation was unanimously approved in the House yesterday to ensure pharmacists and health care professionals have the tools they need when faced with this situation. I am proud to lead this effort with my colleague Representative DeSaulnier and I am glad this bipartisan legislation is another step closer to becoming law as we continue our bipartisan fight to end this crisis facing our nation.”

A copy of the bill can be found here. A clip of the floor proceedings and passage of the bill can be found here.