Hydrocodone not to be rescheduled to C-II – RIGHT NOW at least

Per a press release from NCPA…

Hydrocodone, at least for now, is not being rescheduled to become a C-II at the federal level. A few weeks ago Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) added such an amendment to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA)—the legislation that requires brand, and soon generic, manufacturers to help fund the FDA by paying user fees.

The House bill did not address rescheduling, so the Senate and House versions had to be reconciled this week. West Virginia is one of the hardest hit states for hydrocodone abuse and Sen. Manchin is up for reelection in November, making this a big campaign issue for him. The pressure was intense to see hydrocodone moved to C-II.

Bumping up hydrocodone would have had disastrous unintended consequences for patients and pharmacies. There’s no doubt hydrocodone abuse is a big problem and changes may be needed. But NCPA strongly opposed rescheduling because while there is no concrete evidence that abuse would be deterred, it was a sure thing that obstacles would impede the millions of legitimate patients needing hydrocodone from accessing their medications!

Not to be overlooked, rescheduling hydrocodone almost certainly would not decrease pharmacy crime still leaving our members, their employees, and patients in harm’s way. Importantly, there are alternative solutions that could be more effective that had not been vetted. They include further limiting the maximum number of refills allowed on hydrocodone prescriptions, limiting the quantities prescribers could write, and requiring electronic prescribing of controlled substances—just to name a few.

This has been on the back-burner for around 12 years.. if we are lucky.. that is where it will return and never to be seen/heard from again

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