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PhRMA announces support for seven-day script limit on opioid medicines

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During a briefing at the White House on Wednesday, September 28, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) president and CEO Stephen Ubl announced the group's support for a seven-day script limit on opioid medicines for acute pain.

Ubl issued the following statement:

"As part of our commitment to advancing a multifaceted solution to address the opioid crisis, today PhRMA is announcing it supports policies limiting the supply of opioids to seven days for acute pain treatment. We are taking this step because we believe the worsening opioid epidemic demands additional solutions, with new protections for patients. Too often, individuals receive a 30-day supply of opioid medicines for minor treatments or short-term pain. Overprescribing and dispensing can lead to patients taking opioids longer than necessary or to excess pills falling into the wrong hands.

"Appropriate script limits, when combined with improved prescriber education and better coverage of treatment alternatives, can help ensure proper prescribing and reduce the risk of abuse. Given the scope and scale of this crisis, we believe this is the right thing to do."

Ubl discussed the need for appropriate script limits during a hearing held on Wednesday, September 27, by the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, Chaired by Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ). The meeting featured testimony from biopharmaceutical executives who are working on innovative pain and addiction therapies.

PhRMA has been working closely with the Commission, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop a public-private partnership that will accelerate the development of non-opioid, non-addictive pain medicines and medication assisted treatments for long-term addiction recovery. The partnership would allow increased information sharing and collaboration between government and industry to speed the drug development process.

With this announcement, PhRMA representatives claim to support State and Federal policies that do the following:

-- Limit the supply for first time, acute pain opioid prescriptions to seven days

-- Include a list of circumstances under which a prescriber may deviate from any mandate (e.g. for cancer-related pain, hospice care or accessibility obstacles)

-- Affirm exemptions for medication assisted treatments for patients seeking long-term addiction recovery in addition to counseling and mental health support

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