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Welch-Cosponsored Prescription Drug Diversion Legislation Heads to Obama for Signature

April 13, 2016
Press Release
The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016 passed House late Tuesday evening

WASHINGTON –  Bipartisan legislation authored by Rep. Peter Welch (VT-AL) to combat the diversion of prescription drugs from the supply chain passed the House Tuesday evening and is expected to be signed into law by President Obama.  The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016 (H.R. 471, S. 483) will be the first significant bill addressing prescription drug diversion to become law in this Congress. 

The Welch initiative will help prevent the diversion of prescription drugs from the supply chain for illicit purposes by increasing collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), prescription drug distributors, and pharmacies.  By clarifying DEA guidance to distributors, the agency will be able to free up resources to focus on bad actors in the supply chain.

“Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that has claimed too many lives and taken a heavy toll on communities in Vermont and across the country,” Rep. Peter Welch said. “This commonsense reform will help keep addictive prescription drugs out of the wrong hands, while ensuring that patients have timely access to the medications they need.”

The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016:

•    clarifies terminology in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) for the terms “consistent with the public health and safety” and “imminent danger” to improve the ability of the DEA to collaborate with distributors and stakeholders to prevent drug diversion;
•    allows CSA registrants who face having their registration revoked or suspended to submit a corrective action plan; and
•    requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Administrator of the DEA to submit a report to Congress assessing how enforcement activities may impact patient access and identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent prescription drug abuse.

The legislation was co-authored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA).

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