KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Bipartisan Bill Would Limit Amount Of Opioids Doctors Can Prescribe

Under the legislation, introduced by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), doctors would be limited to prescribing no more than a week's worth of opioids to patients in acute pain.

Morning Consult: Bipartisan Senate Bill Takes Step Against Opioid Epidemic
A bipartisan Senate bill unveiled Thursday would impose strict limits on some opioid prescriptions, a small tweak to federal law that is part of an ongoing effort in Congress to curb overuse of the drugs. The legislation, introduced by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), would bar doctors from supplying more than a week’s supply of an opioid drug to patients suffering from acute pain. Refills for those patients would also be prohibited, but prescriptions to treat chronic illnesses and end-of-life care would not be subject to the rules. Several states, including New York and Arizona, have already enacted similar policies. (Reid, 4/13)

In other news on the crisis —

The Washington Post: Drug Overdose Deaths Top 1,400 In Virginia In 2016
Fatal drug overdoses increased 38 percent in Virginia between 2015 and 2016, an alarming jump that state health officials attribute to abuse of synthetic opioids, heroin and prescription fentanyl. A new report from the state medical examiner found an even bigger increase — 175 percent — in deaths from several varieties of fentanyl, a pain medication significantly more potent than morphine. (Sullivan, 4/13)

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