House panel to examine 25 opioid bills next week
The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to consider 25 bills aimed at combating the opioid crisis during a two-day legislative hearing next week.
The panel is working to hammer out a series of bipartisan bills with the goal of getting legislation to the House floor by Memorial Day.
The hearing next week focuses on an array of public health and prevention measures aimed at stemming an opioid crisis that shows no signs of abating.
Some of the bills focus on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such as one directing the agency to provide clearer data collection guidelines to help claims for products that could be used in place of an opioid.
Another would clarify the FDA’s authority to take into account misuse or abuse when approving an opioid.
On a call with reporters, a committee aide said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has been “highly engaged” in the process and met with panel Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-Texas).
Other bills include directing the Health and Human Services Department to create an electronic database on nationwide strategies to combat the opioid crisis, helping hospitals craft protocols for discharging patients who had an opioid overdose and more. Another measure aims to help the National Institutes of Health research nonaddictive medications for pain.
The hearing on the 25 bills is the second in the panel’s series on the opioid epidemic, the third of which will focus on insurance coverage and treatment. The first examined eight bills on patient safety and enforcement-related measures.
On the other side of the Capitol, a bipartisan group of eight senators released a follow-up to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), dubbed CARA 2.0, in late February. The Senate Health Committee has been holding a series of hearings on the opioid epidemic and aims to craft legislation to combat the crisis.
The two chambers will have to combine their efforts to send it to the president’s desk.
A second committee aide pointed to a member day the panel had in October, saying many of the ideas for bills came from lawmaker suggestions there. The aide said “these bills and this process is a uniquely House process. We’re excited to see what the Senate and the administration are doing and we’re looking forward to working together with them.”