HELP Committee Markup a Critical Step for Balanced Pain Management Legislation

Statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) President Chris Hansen

March 16, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 16, 2016 The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) commends the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for marking up two bills today that take a critical balanced step to address the misuse and abuse of opioid medications.

The National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) Reauthorization Act of 2015 (S. 480) authorizes funding to support state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) across the country. PDMPs address prescription drug abuse, and also protect patient access to medications for individuals with serious illness like cancer who legitimately need access to opioid medications. The legislation includes important improvements to the program that will allow states to use grant funding to expand PDMPs, providing them greater flexibility, and requires states to work towards having programs that are interoperable.

The Schatz-Hatch amendment included in the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 (S. 2680) directs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to increase research into understanding pain, the discovery and development of chronic pain therapies, and the development of alternative medicines to opioids for the effective pain treatment.

ACS CAN applauds the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for moving both bills forward, and identifying balanced pain management solutions to ensure all patients suffering from chronic pain have access to necessary medications, said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. These important programs ensure health care providers have the tools they need to treat and assist patients with legitimate needs for prescription pain medications.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit


Jill Courtney or Alissa Crispino

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Phone: (202) 585-3278 or (202) 661-5772

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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