WASHINGTON - The House Tuesday passed bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-10) to fight prescription drug abuse.

The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act (H.R. 4709) will enhance collaboration between drug suppliers and regulators ensuring a more secure supply chain that protects the legitimate medication needs of patients, Marino's office reported in a press release.

"Ultimately, greater collaboration and understanding will improve efforts to combat the prescription drug abuse epidemic we know is affecting the communities we represent," Marino was quoted in the release.

Marino said a pharmacist from Pennsylvania told him last year about problems he had in accessing necessary prescriptions for cancer patients dealing with chronic pain. It raised serious concerns about problems in the prescription drug supply chain that threatened access and effective enforcement, Marino said.

The new bill would clarify current law and create more opportunities to "identify bad actors in the supply chain while making certain that prescriptions are accessible to patients in need."

It would give prescription drug suppliers and dispensers clear compliance instructions from the Drug Enforcement Agency. It would also requires much greater collaboration and communication between drug suppliers and federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, so that they can better respond to this ever-evolving problem.