Congress Drafts Legislation to Combat Opioid Crisis

Draft legislation released by the Senate Health Committee is aimed at bolstering the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ability to respond to the opioid crisis. One of the bills would allow the agency to require drug manufacturers to package certain opioids in set doses (or “blister packs”). The other bill would grant the FDA authority to spend the $94 million allocated by the omnibus spending bill to improve the infrastructure for seizing illegal drugs at U.S. borders.

Combating the opioid crisis is a priority for both chambers of Congress. In March, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a series of legislative hearings with the goal of sending legislation to the House floor by the end of May. The initial session focused on enforcement, the second discussed treatment and prevention strategies, and the third focused on insurance coverage and prescription regulations for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Sources: STAT News, March 29, 2018; The Hill, March 26, 2018.