New Opioid Crisis Law Cites Unit-Dose Packaging

President signs Support for Patients and Communities Act into law; HCPC applauds efforts of Congress and the FDA.

President signs Support for Patients and Communities Act into law; HCPC applauds efforts of Congress and the FDA.
President signs Support for Patients and Communities Act into law; HCPC applauds efforts of Congress and the FDA.

“We took an important step forward in combatting the devastating crisis of opioid addiction plaguing our nation,” said an Oct. 24 FDA statement from Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

The Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council noted, “This law will boost access to addiction treatment and includes many other interventions to mitigate the opioid epidemic, from law enforcement efforts against illicit drugs to combating the overprescription of opioids. For the latter effort, the law formally recognizes unit-dose packaging, such as ‘blister packs’ as mentioned by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottleib and Senator Lamar Alexander in their discussions on the subject. Unit-dose packaging can be used to supply initial pain treatment to patients only requiring short-term use, limiting the supply to a maximum of seven days to mitigate overuse, which can lead to addiction in some patients in only a few days, and excess supply, which can be diverted and abused by non-patients.

“The HCPC applauds the efforts of Congress and the FDA to formally recognize proper pharmaceutical packaging as an essential tool in ensuring the safety of patients and their families. For more information on the bill, or to view the text on unit-dose packaging, visit Support for Patients and Communities Act and look for Chapter 4, Section 3032.”

HCPC will hold its annual Full Member Meeting at the Honeywell Headquarters, 115 Tabor Road, Morris Plains, NJ on Tuesday, Nov. 6, beginning at 9 a.m, where it plans to outline its next steps to improve patient adherence and safety through packaging.
FDA’s Oct. 24 statement touches on some several steps taken by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to confront the opioid crisis. These fall into four primary “buckets”:

• Decrease exposure to opioids as a way to prevent new addiction

• Advance innovation in pain medicines that don’t carry the same risks as opioids

• Develop and use better treatments to help those with opioid use disorder

• Increase enforcement and interdiction work aimed at illicit drugs, particularly for products being shipped illegally through international mail facilities

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