AMCP Praises Senate Passage of S. 524 to Combat Opioid Epidemic

 Alexandria, Va., July 14, 2016 — The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) commends the Senate for its overwhelming 92-to-2 passage of S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). This important legislation will protect at-risk Medicare beneficiaries and provide states with much needed assistance to help combat the country’s growing opioid epidemic. The House earlier passed CARA by a 407-to-5 vote.

The bill, which now goes to President Obama for his signature, includes two provisions that AMCP has strongly supported over the past two years.

The first is language from S. 1913 that gives Medicare Part D plans the authority to establish drug management programs for at-risk beneficiaries. Such programs allow health plans to identify beneficiaries who have used multiple pharmacies and prescribers to obtain opioid prescriptions. Health plans may inform these beneficiaries of available treatment options, as well as limit unnecessary prescriptions.

The second is inclusion of S. 480/HR. 1725 to reauthorize the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER), which provides states with grants to improve their prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). Such programs permit qualified prescribers and pharmacists to access database information that may help identify and prevent the misuse, abuse and diversion of controlled substances.

AMCP Chief Executive Officer Susan A. Cantrell, RPh, CAE, issued the following statement:

“The passage of CARA represents a holistic, comprehensive and multi-stakeholder approach to truly address our country’s growing opioid epidemic. This bill provides states with immediate assistance, as well as the authority to establish effective tools and programs that will make a significant difference in this fight.

“The Academy is especially pleased to see the inclusion of S. 1913, which will allow for the creation of drug management programs aimed at assisting Medicare Part D patients who are at high risk of addiction. Such programs have been successfully applied by AMCP members in the private insurance market. We also are gratified at the reauthorization of NASPER to enhance state PDMPs.

“AMCP members from across the country have been actively encouraging passage of these initiatives in recent years. Our members’ letters, emails, testimony and other outreach efforts to Congress, along with strong advocacy from the AMCP staff, have been instrumental in moving this important legislation forward.”