Preventing Drug Abuse
Patient safety is a top priority for the generic drug industry and GPhA is strongly committed to curbing misuse of prescription medication. Any medicine could pose health risks if not used as directed by a health provider. It is a public health and patient safety imperative that patients take medicines as prescribed and adhere to the instructions of their doctor, pharmacist or healthcare provider. GPhA and its members support local, state and nationwide efforts to limit drug abuse. Prescription adherence, safe storage and proper disposal help prevent abuse and ensure that patients get the full value of safe, effective and more affordable generic drugs.
GPhA and its members support education for prescribers and providers, and partner with leading national organizations dedicated to promoting public health and preventing abuse. It is important that any effort to minimize drug abuse balances the need to ensure access to medicines for patients who need them.
What is GPhA doing to curb prescription drug abuse?
- GPhA supports the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the national membership organization representing over 5,000 coalitions and affiliates working to make America’s communities safe, healthy and drug-free.
- GPhA is a member of the National Council on Patient Education and Information (NCPIE) and supports its many prescription drug abuse prevention programs including:
- Taking Action to Prevent and Address Prescription Drug Abuse: A Resource Kit for College Campuses is designed to help inform and mobilize college campuses to raise awareness about and address the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, and
- The Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention: Resources for Community Action™ guide
- GPhA supports Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) administered by state and local health officials across the country to reduce prescription drug abuse and diversion. The association also supports improving the effectiveness of PDMPs by increasing interoperability and standardization.
- GPhA supports proper disposal of unused or unwanted prescription drugs through U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Take Back days.
GPhA supports initiatives to assist physicians and other prescribers in the proper prescribing of prescription drugs, particularlyopioids. This includes the five recommendations of the American Medical Association’s Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse:
- Register and use your state prescription drug monitoring program to check your patient's prescription history.
- Educate yourself on managing pain and promoting safe, responsible opioid prescribing.
- Support overdose prevention measures, such as increased access to naloxone.
- Reduce the stigma of substance use disorder and enhance access to treatment.
- Ensure patients in pain aren't stigmatized and can receive comprehensive treatment
How do generic manufacturers prevent misuse of their products?
In addition to the measures characterized above, generic drug manufacturers have and continue to develop and market medicines, such as opioids for pain management, with abuse deterrent formulations (ADF). Abuse-deterrent technology makes it harder to misuse medicines by crushing tablets for snorting or further dissolving products with intent to inject the contents. As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes, this does not mean the product is impossible to abuse or that these properties necessarily prevent addiction, overdose or death.
It is important to note that FDA approved generic products with ADF are just as abuse deterrent as their brand counterparts. Additionally, GPhA will continue to work with FDA on draft guidance on generic ADF products. In discussing ADF principles with FDA, GPhA:
- Encourages FDA to spur innovation by drug makers in developing ADF of prescription opioids. However, requiring a specific type of ADF technology – rather than having the determination based on scientific results – will stifle and hamper these much-needed creative solutions.
- Believes that FDA’s determination of whether a generic prescription opioid receives the ADF labeling should not be based on whether the generic has an identical ADF technology.
Four Simple Steps to Getting the Most Value from Your Generic Medicines
As brand and specialty drug costs soar, it’s more important than ever for you as a patient to get the full value of your safe, effective and more affordable generic drugs.
Choose Generic: Make sure to ask your provider or pharmacist if a generic version of the medicine you need is available.
Adhere to Your Treatment Regimen: Always use medicines as directed by your healthcare provider.
Store Your Medicines Safely: Keep your prescription drugs in a place that is cool and dry, since heat and humidity can damage medicines. If there are children in your household and/or you are storing controlled substances prescribed for you, a locked storage area is a good idea to promote safety and prevent misuse.
Follow Safe, Easy Disposal Practices: In-home disposal is the fastest, safest and most convenient way to avoid misuse. The FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy also support in-home disposal. Avoid pouring medicines down the drain unless instructed by your healthcare provider.
For more information visit www.safemedsdisposal.org