By Blair Childs, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Premier Inc.
Premier and its members applaud President Trump’s remarks on tackling opioids and combatting rising drug costs in his State of the Union address. To effectively tackle this crisis, outdated policies need to be reformed and increased action is needed by federal and state governments. One important and necessary reform is updating the 40-year old law, 42 CFR Part 2 (Part 2). This law bars healthcare providers from accessing their patients’ medical history on substance use without complex and multiple patient consents. This forces providers to play Russian roulette with every prescription, often learning of problems only after an adverse event or an overdose. We urge Congress to act quickly and pass the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (H.R. 3545) and the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (S. 1850) to arm providers with the information they need to deliver comprehensive care to those struggling with substance abuse disorders.
In regards to drug costs, increased competition is crucial to stabilize the pharmaceutical market. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has ramped up the agency’s efforts to prevent drug manufacturers from “gaming the system” at the expense of consumers. We’re encouraged by these steps to accelerate drug approval times, revamp regulations to close unfair loopholes and foster healthier markets for pharmaceuticals. There is far more that needs to be done including the many recommendations in Premier Drug Policy Roadmap. We look forward to working with the Administration to accelerate efforts to unleash more competition that can moderate drug price increases and shortages.