NASPER Victory In Senate

JULY 29, 2005

It's official! ASIPP has scored a major legislative victory with US Senate approval this evening (July 29) of the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER). When signed into law by President Bush, the development of a nationwide prescription controlled substances monitoring system will help protect Americans' health and reduce "doctor shopping" and diversion of controlled substances. This evening's Senate approval follows closely on the heels of NASPER's unanimous approval by the US House on Wednesday, July 27.

The 4,000-member American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians proposed NASPER legislation four years ago and has supported efforts for its approval through three legislative sessions, according to Laxmaiah Manchikanti , ASIPP's chief executive officer.

Through NASPER legislation, ASIPP addressed several concerns: the prevention of adverse drug interactions by providing physicians and pharmacists access to information on controlled substances and dosages prescribed to a patient by any physician, anywhere; and the prevention of "doctor shopping" and diversion of controlled substances.

Currently 20 states have established drug database programs, but information is not shared from state to state. When NASPER is signed into law by President Bush, it will create a federal grant program to help establish or improve state-run prescription drug monitoring programs, so "honest patients receive appropriate treatment," Manchikanti said.

NASPER received strong bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate, and is the first legislation originated by a physician group to be enacted into law. Sponsors of NASPER in the House were U.S. Rep. Edward Whitfield (R-KY) who introduced the legislation, and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), plus 27 bi-partisan co-sponsors. In the Senate, NASPER sponsors were Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Richard Durbin (D-IL); bi-partisan co-sponsors included Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Lamar Alexander (R-IN), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), David Vitter (R-LA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Jim Talent (R-MO).

"This has been a cooperative effort all the way and many people have worked very hard to get this legislation passed," Manchikanti commented. He commended ASIPP members who devoted a lot of time to this effort in Capitol Hill visits with their representatives and senators.

"We can't forget to thank our friends," he said, and added that special thanks go to Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Michael Enzi (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for their strong and practical assistance. He also acknowledged the efforts and support of physician and lawyer Megan Clark, formerly a member of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions' staff, John Halliwell, legislative director for Rep. Ed Whitfield and Kathy Kulkarni, legislative director for Rep. Frank Pallone.