PCMA promotes policies preventing opioid abuse

Mark Merritt advised streamlining state prescription drug management programs. | File photo

Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) President and CEO Mark Merritt has written directly to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to offer the association’s concise solution for fast-tracking “common-sense” improvements to the nation’s opioid abuse policy.

“We appreciate your interest in reaching out to [pharmacy benefit managers] PBMs to discuss policies to address the rampant opioid abuse in the United States,” the communication written on behalf of PCMA said. “We share your concerns, and ahead of a discussion wanted to outline solutions that would help assure people receive opioid prescriptions only when medically appropriate.”

In the letter dated July 24, Merritt recommended specific actions for the FDA to consider, including endorsing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's guidelines for opioid prescribing; requiring electronic prescriptions for controlled substances, and limiting prescriptions to seven-day supplies for acute pain.

Additionally, he advised streamlining state prescription drug management programs, mandating that prescribers observe PDMPs; and equip Part D health care plans with better ways to fight pharmacy opioid fraud.

Finally, Merritt encouraged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to offer maximum flexibility for Part D plans regarding pharmacy and prescriber lock-in, allowing sufficient time for plan programs and testing prior to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Lock-In.

The letter was copied to Richard Baum, acting director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman for the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

The PCMA represents PBMs nationwide.

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Organizations in this story

Pharmaceutical Care Management Association 325 7th St NW Washington, DC - 20004

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd Atlanta, GA - 30329

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 10903 New Hampshire Ave Silver Spring, MD - 20903