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Government Programs, Public Education Critical to Curbing Drug Abuse

Contact: Steve Arnoff 202.249.7113 

WASHINGTON, DC (May 11, 2016) — Today, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) wrote a letter to Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) expressing strong opposition to the Pharmaceutical Stewardship Act (H.R. 4931), a bill that would increase the cost of prescription medicines without addressing the root causes of drug abuse.

“GPhA supports a wide range of efforts toward preventing prescription drug misuse and abuse,” said Chip Davis, President and CEO, Generic Pharmaceutical Association. “Before moving forward with this bill, members of Congress should carefully consider the unintended cost and public health consequences. Rather than untested manufacturer-funded programs, Congress should work to support and strengthen the existing government programs that educate the public on proven methods such as in-home disposal and local drug ‘take-back’ sites.”

In addition to logistical challenges that raise pragmatic concerns about this bill’s administration, the bill could undermine recent Congressional actions supported by the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) that could put patients at risk, the letter details.

GPhA urges Congress to “join industry in promoting robust public education campaigns to teach patients the importance of properly adhering to physician and pharmacist instructions, storage requirements and disposal of no longer needed or expired medicines,” Davis writes.

Government programs such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day have demonstrated success and continue to result in safe and timely collection of thousands of pounds of unused, unwanted or expired medicines. In fact, the 2015 National Take-Back Day effort by more than 3,800 federal, state and local counterparts took in more than 702,365 pounds of drugs at more than 5,000 collection sites across the United States, according to the DEA.

“GPhA welcomes the opportunity to be part of a collaborative effort to mitigate drug abuse,” said Davis. “Together, we should support patient-focused solutions that address prescription drug abuse without compromising public safety or pharmaceutical supply chain integrity.”

Read the full letter here.

About GPhA
GPhA represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals fill 88 percent of the prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but consume just 28 percent of the total drug spending. Additional information is available at gphaonline.org. Follow us on twitter: @gpha.