Senate committee fine-tunes Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), held its seventh bipartisan hearing since October 2017 to discuss the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018.

The draft bill includes many provisions, including enabling the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to create a rule allowing qualified healthcare providers to administer controlled substances via telemedicine. Other measures include:

  • Spurring the development of a non-addictive painkiller;
  • Giving the FDA authority to require drug manufacturers to package certain opioids for a set duration, and require manufacturers to give patients simple and safe ways to dispose of unused opioids;
  • Improving the detection and seizure of illegal drugs, including fentanyl; and
  • Improving data sharing so doctors and pharmacies can know if patients have a history of substance abuse and states can better track opioid prescriptions.

The HELP Committee will mark up the bill and hopes to have it to the full senate by April 24. Read a summary of the draft legislation here.