Much thanks to the American Health Lawyer’s Association (AHLA), for compiling today’s news for us:
Trump Opioid Plan Explicitly Favors Alkermes’ Vivitrol Over Other Addiction Medications.
In covering the White House’s recent national strategy to address the opioid epidemic, STAT (3/26, Facher) reports that when Alkermes CEO Richard Pops testified before a White House commission on the opioid crisis in September, he “stressed the importance of increasing insurance coverage for Vivitrol [naltrexone], but added that patients should be made aware of all available treatment options.” Administration health officials “themselves expressed doubts about the approach,” but a White House spokesman later confirmed that the strategy document referred specifically to naltrexone in its injectable form, which is made only by Alkermes and marketed as Vivitrol.
Draft Legislation Would Bolster FDA’s Powers In Opioid Fight.
The Hill (3/26, Roubein) reports Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on Monday released draft legislation “aimed at bolstering the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) capacity to respond to the opioid crisis.” One of the draft bills “would let the FDA require drug manufacturers to package certain opioids in set doses, known as ‘blister packs,’” that would reduce the volume of opioids prescribed and be easier to dispose of. The Hill reports other draft legislation “would ensure the FDA can spend the $94 million included in the spending bill passed last week to upgrade equipment at the border, boost laboratory capacity and improve the infrastructure to better seize illegal drugs at the border,” including fentanyl.
The Washington Times (3/26, Howell) reports Alexander also said that the FDA should use the new funding to improve its coordination with US Customs and Borders Protection.
American Dental Association Backs Seven-Day Limits On Opioid Prescriptions.
CBS News (3/26, Strickler) reports on its website that according to new research (PDF) published Monday in the Journal of the American Dental Association, dental prescriptions for opioids have been rising while opioid prescriptions have been declining nationwide. The American Dental Association “has now released a new policy saying they now support statutory limits of seven days for dental opioid prescriptions,” limits not currently embraced by the American Medical Association, “which has so far resisted opioid prescription limits.”
The Hill (3/26, Roubein) reports the new research “shows that 6.4 percent of all opioid prescriptions were written by dentists in 2012, but that rates increased slightly from 2010 to 2015.” ADA president Joseph Crowley said in a press release, “This new policy demonstrates ADA’s firm commitment to help fight the country’s opioid epidemic while continuing to help patients manage dental pain.”
The AP (3/26, Tanner) reports dental opioid prescriptions grew slightly “despite evidence that ibuprofen and acetaminophen work just as well for most dental pain.” The AP reports that according to a study published in the same journal, dentists “are the leading prescribers of opioids for U.S. teens and the largest increase in dental prescriptions from 2010 to 2015 occurred in 11- to 18-year-olds.”
The Washington Examiner (3/26, Leonard) also reports.