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HDA Statement on Senator McCaskill’s Opioid Report and the Role of Pharmaceutical Distributors in Addressing National Crisis

July 12, 2018

ARLINGTON, Va. — In response to a new report from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) regarding the role of distributors in addressing the country’s opioid abuse epidemic, Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) President and CEO John M. Gray issued the following statement.

“Pharmaceutical distributors applaud the recent efforts by policymakers to identify and advance legislative solutions to the current opioid abuse epidemic. Our members have urged congressional leaders to prioritize a range of policy solutions as part of a more comprehensive, real-time response to the opioid crisis. At the same time, the recent report from Sen. McCaskill relies on debunked, inaccurate statements without acknowledging the need for broader reforms across the pharmaceutical supply chain.

“First, it is widely recognized and acknowledged that the decades-long trend of opioid overprescribing — reinforced by federal policy — was a leading factor in the start of the opioid crisis. While the medical community has made significant strides in reversing the trend of overprescribing, more needs to be done to educate and engage patients around their rights, risks and responsibilities regarding opioid use.

“Further, the misinformed attacks on the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act ignore the actual intent of the law to improve communication and coordination across the supply chain. In December 2017, DEA Acting Administrator, Demetra Ashley, reiterated that the agency had range of tools at its disposal to support its enforcement actions. Further, since the law only was passed in 2016, it could not have impacted enforcement efforts in previous years.

“Patients and their families are looking for comprehensive solutions to this public health crisis. It starts by focusing on the solutions that will make a real difference in our collective efforts to reverse the harmful trends of abuse and misuse. We look forward to continuing our work with Congress to make this a reality.”

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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