Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines Issues Open Letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell
WASHINGTON, DC (June 4, 2015) – In an open letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell, the Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines (APAM) praised the Secretary for her leadership in connecting with state governors on prescription drug abuse and expressed its members’ hope to engage further with her agency to develop solutions to this growing public health issue.
The letter emphasized the need for a comprehensive, public health approach and offered APAM membership as a resource for the opioid abuse summit the Secretary plans to host with state and federal policy makers.
The full text of the letter is included below.
June 3, 2015
The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Dear Secretary Burwell:
We write to you as the Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines to thank you for your April 6, 2015, letter to each of the state governors expressing your concern about prescription drug diversion, abuse and addiction, and your strategic priorities to address it; and to engage further with your agency in a dialogue regarding this serious public health problem.
The Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines – comprised of the American Medical Association (AMA), Cardinal Health, CVS Health, Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA), kaléo, Millennium Health, Prime Therapeutics, and Teva Pharmaceuticals – has been working to raise awareness of the issue of prescription drug abuse, partner with legislators to craft concrete and achievable solutions, and serve as a resource for policymakers and the media. Last year, the Alliance publicly released a set of solutions concepts that represents a multi-faceted approach that includes education, disposal, monitoring, and treatment, and, more recently, held a high-level meeting of key governors, senators, industry stakeholders, and Administration officials, including a representative from your own Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
While the Alliance focuses primarily on federal solutions to diversion and abuse, the complexity and interplay between federal and state policy in addressing this epidemic is undisputed. To this end, we were encouraged by your outreach to the governors, in which you conveyed your commitment and pledged to host a second opioid summit that would convene policymakers at both the state and federal levels. The Alliance believes that the growing public health problem of prescription drug diversion, abuse, and addiction must be confronted and addressed through a collaborative effort by all stakeholders. As a coalition focused on this issue that includes representation across the domestic supply chain, the Alliance respectfully offers its membership as a resource for that summit, and very much hopes that those who manufacture, distribute, prescribe, dispense, test, and treat will be included in that important conversation.
The statistics are troubling and clear – 15,000 American lives are claimed by prescription drug abuse each year. And as troubling as the lives claimed are the lives placed in jeopardy as this diversion and abuse can tragically deprive those who legitimately need medicines of access to quality care, and threaten the welfare and health of those afflicted by addiction and abuse, as well as those associated with them.
We hope that the Alliance can be a resource and partner to you, and we look forward to engaging in this dialogue. For more information regarding the Alliance, you can visit: www.RxAbuseSolutions.org or contact us at info@RxAbuseSolutions.org.
The Alliance to Prevent the Abuse of Medicines