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Rahall Supports FDA Reform, Calls for Stronger Measures to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) Wednesday rebuked the House of Representatives for passing legislation to reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration user-fee programs without strengthening the agency’s ability to address the prescription drug crisis in Appalachia.
“This conference report is a bittersweet pill to swallow. While it includes a provision that would ban the sale of dangerous synthetic drugs, which I support and the House of Representatives passed late last year, the FDA’s programs could have been strengthened significantly to address substance abuse and its impact on our Nation’s economic and security needs. Our families and communities need more than recommendations – they need action, and they simply cannot wait any longer for help,” said Rahall, a senior member of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse.
Rahall supports the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which would reauthorize the FDA’s user fee program related to the pre-market approval of prescription drugs and medical devices. However, Rahall was critical of the measure citing the lack of provisions to strengthen and improve the FDA’s role in regulating the addictive qualities of drugs that are manufactured and ensuring sufficient education and awareness for health care providers and the general public.
Rahall has been active and vocal in promoting legislation that he introduced, H.R. 1925, the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, the House companion measure to the Senate bill authored by Senator Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), which would promote both physician and consumer education, as well as authorize federal funding to help states create and maintain prescription drug monitoring programs that all states can access. In April, a House Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill, at which Rahall testified.
“I have introduced legislation, as have a number of my colleagues who serve in the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, that would arm our law enforcement, physicians, and local communities in this fight – making it harder for pills to get into the wrong hands and be misused, and ensuring that all prescriptions are properly monitored,” said Rahall. “Fighting back against this unending wave of abuse will take the action of all – local, state and federal governments.”
Last year, Rahall convened the state’s first summit to focus resources on the burgeoning problem of prescription drug abuse in West Virginia, bringing together federal, state, and local officials in Wyoming County. This spring, Rahall participated in a bipartisan panel at the nation’s first national summit focusing solely on the issue of prescription drug abuse to help put Appalachia center stage in a national forum to direct attention back home.
Rahall’s full statement is attached.