Capito proposes bill to reform pharmacy hold time of opioid medication

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) recently introduced a bipartisan bill to help facilitate continuity of care and treatment for Americans with opioid use disorders by reducing an unnecessary barrier to an innovative treatment method.

Specifically, Sen. Capito on Nov. 18 cosponsored S. 3257 with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to increase the amount of time a physician may hold long-acting injectable (LAI) buprenorphine — a form of medication for opioid use disorders — from a specialty pharmacy, according to a bill summary provided by the senators.

The current 14-day window is a barrier to healthcare providers utilizing LAI buprenorphine due to the logistical hurdles associated with specialty pharmacy delivery, the information says. 

“Along with preventing substance abuse before it starts and stopping the flow of drugs into our communities, treatment is a critical component of this fight,” Sen. Capito said. “The bipartisan bill Senator Shaheen and I are authoring would support those struggling with the disease of addiction by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, and better equip medical providers in helping them on their road to recovery.”

If enacted, S. 3257 would permit healthcare providers to hold LAI buprenorphine in their facility for up to 60 days. The bill has been referred for consideration to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Now more than ever, we must ensure that no stone is left unturned in our response efforts to assist those in recovery, which is precisely what our bipartisan, bicameral legislation would help us achieve,” said Sen. Shaheen. “Medication-assisted treatment is part of our multifaceted strategy to combat the substance use disorder crisis, and our legislation makes a commonsense reform to improve access so providers can deliver the treatment those struggling with addiction urgently need.”

The legislation is supported by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, Advocates for Opioid Recovery, the Aimed Alliance, the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, and the Center for U.S. Policy, among many others.