Capito, Warren, Clark and Stivers Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Allow Partial Filling of Opioid Prescriptions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Representatives Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) to introduce the Reducing Unused Medications Act.

The bill would allow prescriptions for opioid medications to be partially filled by pharmacists at the request of patients or doctors, reducing the number of unused painkillers. More than 70 percent of adults who misuse prescription opioids get them from friends or relatives, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“In order to fight the drug epidemic and save lives, we must pursue solutions on all fronts. Allowing the partial filling of opioid prescriptions is one way we can reduce the drug supply and prevent unused prescriptions from ending up in the wrong hands. This bipartisan legislation will clarify federal policy, enable states to move forward with partial fill policies, and play a significant role in our broader effort to combat the drug crisis,” said Senator Capito.

“Tackling the opioid abuse epidemic will take a lot of hard work on the part of the government, law enforcement, and physicians – but prevention also starts in the doctor’s office and at home,” Senator Warren said. “This bipartisan bill is an important step that will empower patients to work with their doctors and pharmacists to get appropriate pain treatment, while limiting the number of unused pills in family medicine cabinets. It also empowers states like Massachusetts to explore additional prescribing policies that are right for their citizens.”

Reducing the amount of unused prescription painkillers is a critical part of addressing the ongoing opioid abuse epidemic. Current Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations permit certain drugs to be partially filled, but the regulations are narrower and less clear for other drugs, including prescription opioids.  The Reducing Unused Medications Act will resolve any ambiguity and clear the way for states considering partial fill policies to act.

A fact sheet about the bill is available here, and the full text of the legislation is available here.