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Companies Heed Call for Market-Based Solutions to Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

At the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit this week, executives from multinational and domestic health care companies met to discuss their efforts to develop market-based solutions to the U.S. prescription drug epidemic. The private-sector meeting took place as federal officials called for industry to develop safer medications and government to be more attentive to the nation’s fastest growing drug problem.

The market-based solutions meeting, hosted by the not-for-profit Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence (CLAAD), provided 22 individuals representing 12 commercial entities a chance to highlight their efforts to develop innovative solutions to the issue the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy called the nation’s most pressing public health problem.

Among participants in the meeting were Grünenthal USA, which develops and manufactures pharmaceutical products designed to deter intentional abuse; Reckitt-Benckiser Group, maker of a dissolvable film used for the treatment of opioid dependence; and Millennium Laboratories, which provides medication monitoring and drug detection services.

CLAAD is a national, non-profit coalition that identifies and advances policies to prevent the diversion, misuse, and abuse of prescription medications while protecting patient access to care. CLAAD’s National Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Strategy, which has earned the public endorsements of 30 non-profit health and safety organizations, identifies the adoption of new technologies as one of the top five priorities in prescription drug abuse prevention policy.

During plenary presentations at the National Summit, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-05), Chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee; and Nora Volkow, MD, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, both urged pharmaceutical manufacturers to develop products that impede abuse and overdose.

“The private sector will lead the way in reducing our nation’s prescription drug abuse problem,” said Michael Barnes, spokesman for CLAAD. “The federal government has to do a better job at clarifying its expectations surrounding the development and implementation of new technologies to reduce prescription drug abuse,” Barnes continued.

Participants in the CLAAD meeting identified improving the communication and collaboration of federal regulators as their principal public policy priority. “Innovators cannot meet the government’s requirements when they do not know what they are,” Barnes said.

U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, echoed the sentiments of the commercial entities: “I don’t have the time for bureaucrats to do another study” before they take active steps to address prescription drug abuse, she told Summit participants. Bono Mack’s family has been personally touched by prescription drug abuse.

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription medications and regulates their sales and marketing. During a panel presentation at the National Summit, audience members urged U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (GA-01) to demand greater action and accountability from the FDA. Kingston chairs the House subcommittee that provides funding for the regulatory agency.

Among the federal Executive Branch participants in the Summit were the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Drug Enforcement Administration, Surgeon General, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit took place in Orlando, Florida, April 10-12. The inaugural event was produced by the Kentucky-based, not-for-profit Operation UNITE, and was co-sponsored by CLAAD.

About the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence

The non-profit Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence (CLAAD) coordinates a comprehensive national effort to prevent the diversion, misuse, and abuse of prescription medications while ensuring adequate medical care for patients in need. CLAAD enables health professionals, law enforcement, businesses, and government, among many other entities, to share resources and work together to reduce prescription drug abuse, addiction, and overdoses. CLAAD’s National Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Strategy has been endorsed by 30 non-profit organizations and may be accessed online at www.claad.org.

For more information contact:
Paul Scott O’Neill, Policy Advisor
(703) 527-4550

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