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Congressman Ryan Costello

Representing the 6th District of Pennsylvania

Reps. Costello and Nolan Introduce Legislation to Provide Safe Distribution of Innovative Medicine

March 13, 2018
Press Release
Legislation is Part of Rep. Costello’s Work to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) introduced the Ensuring Patient Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatments Act as part of their effort to combat the opioid epidemic. This bipartisan legislation makes a technical change to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to provide for the safe and efficient distribution of new medication-assisted treatments.

Traditional medication-assisted treatments require an individual recovering from substance use disorder to take a daily buprenorphine pill. Doctors, patients, treatment providers, and other relevant stakeholders voiced concerns about difficulties with patient adherence and drug diversion of orally administered daily doses of buprenorphine. In response, the medical community developed a long-acting injectable medication-assisted therapy. While this innovative treatment has been praised as a vast improvement, the CSA needs updating to ensure this new therapy can be administered in a safe and effective fashion.

Under current law, pharmacists can only dispense medication-assisted treatments directly to a patient.  The legislation would change the CSA to allow pharmacists to dispense these treatments directly to doctors, who can then administer the treatment to the patient in an office-setting, and ensure the patient is also receiving behavioral therapy and counseling. Allowing pharmacists to dispense medication directly to doctors will decrease diversion, increase patient adherence, and make sure patients are receiving the steady dosage of medicine they are meant to receive, while also keeping laws up to speed with advances in medicine.

“By ensuring safe and responsible delivery of new therapies, we are taking a forward-looking step in the fight against the opioid epidemic, while simultaneously making sure patients receive the treatment they need,” said Rep. Costello. “I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation as part of my efforts to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

“Our legislation will help ensure that new treatments to the opioid crisis – such as injectable medication-assisted treatments – comply with the law so they can be administered properly to the patients who will need them,” said Rep. Nolan. “Here in Congress, I will continue fighting for bipartisan initiatives designed to defeat the opioid crisis and save the lives of thousands of Americans.”


  • The Ensuring Patient Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatments Act also includes safeguard techniques by requiring the medical provider to return any unused medicine not later than 14 days after receipt