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WASHINGTON — Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) wrote a series of letters on Wednesday asking major figures in the battle against the nation’s opioid epidemic to consider promoting and analyzing “partial fill” policies, which allow patients to receive less than a full prescription’s worth of medication on a single pharmacy trip.

A clause in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, passed in 2016, permits pharmacies to dispense portions of prescriptions for Schedule II drugs — a classification that includes many opioid-based painkillers with high potential for abuse — and for patients to return later if they feel the remainder of prescribed medication is needed.


“Our idea was simple: empower patients to have a conversation with their health providers and pharmacists about how many prescription drugs they felt comfortable having in their home,” Warren and Capito wrote in letters to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb; all 50 state governors;  11 major medical member organizations; and Massachusetts Health Commissioner Monica Bharel.

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  • Wake-up! People that want a partial refill take those few initial pills and sell them. Then they come back with more money to buy the rest. Your legitimate patient will want the full prescription from the beginning.

  • Let’s see, using the 120 Rx. 30 pills/fill, tier 5, 50 dollar copay per fill, you would be paying $200 for the complete Rx. Also since you can’t phone these in the 85 year old guy with metastatic bone cancer racked with pain will now have to make four trips instead of one. Warren keeps coming up with worse ideas each time.

  • At least in California, if you get a partial-fill on a Schedule II, you lose the ability to get the rest of the pills you were prescribed. If you have a script for qty 120 and pharmacy only has 30, you can’t go back later to get 90 more. You get 30 and that’s it.

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