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Prescription Drug Bill Aimed at Preventing Illegal Access [AUDIO]

Flanked by drug addiction prevention advocates and pharmacy representatives on Thursday, a New Jersey Congressman introduces a new bill aimed at reducing prescription drug abuse.

Flickr User Magic Madzik

Congressman Frank Pallone is the author of the Medicare Prescription Drug Integrity Act of 2013, which is aimed at cracking down on reports of inappropriate payments for prescriptions of controlled substances in Medicare’s Part D Program.

“We’re trying to legislate different tools that would go to pharmacist or to the Medicare program itself so that they can cut back on abuse and fraud,” Pallone says.

Among other things, the measure ensures that prescriptions are submitted only by licensed physicians and dispensed by pharmacies that are legitimate and registered with the DEA. It also gives the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Part D health plans the ability to deny payment for drugs that are considered dangerous to patient health.

Angelo Valente, Executive Director of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, says the measure helps to crack down on unauthorized prescribers.

“It will avoid the issuance of, in particular, scheduled drugs by individuals who are not medical doctors.”

According to Pallone’s press release, the measure’s in response to a report by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General that shows that in 2009 Medicare paid $5.4 million for 72,000 prescriptions ordered by 14 prescriber types that do not have the authority to prescribe in any state, including massage therapists, athletic trainers and dental hygienists.

“The key is eliminating the wide spread access that exist at the entry level and I think that’s what this bill hopefully will be able to do,” Valente explained.

According to Valente, prescription drug addiction is at epidemic levels in the United States with 40 people dying daily as a result of a prescription drug overdose.

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