KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

The Race To Make Abuse-Proof Painkillers; States Lead On Compounding Pharmacy Regulation

Developments in pharmaceuticals make headlines: the race to make painkillers that are difficult to abuse, state action on regulating compounding pharmacies and the difference in how much different Americans pay for prescriptions.

The Wall Street Journal: Unmeltable, Uncrushable: The Holy Grail In Painkillers
The arms race to build a safer painkiller is under way. In the wake of a key decision by the Food and Drug Administration, more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies -- from startups to Pfizer Inc. -- are vying to create painkilling drugs that are difficult to abuse (Martin and Rockoff, 5/5).

Politico: States Take Lead On Compounding Pharmacies
Several states are taking matters into their own hands to boost oversight of large-scale pharmacies like the one behind the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak last fall as the outlook for congressional action is somewhat murky. So far, 15 states have taken up bills to step up the regulation of facilities like the one linked to the outbreak. Five have passed them into law, nine are still weighing their options, and only Mississippi has rejected the effort, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (Norman, 5/6).

Marketplace: Map: You May Be Paying Way More For Birth Control
Do you shop around when it comes to paying for your prescription drugs? A new study from Consumer Reports shows that it pays off. Americans spent on average $758 out of pocket for medication in 2012, according to the study. And when secret shoppers called more than 200 pharmacies around the United States to get prices for a month's supply of five top-selling prescription drugs that recently became available at generic, they found whopping difference of $749 between the highest- and lowest-priced stores. Takeaway? Shop around. When it comes to birth control, the same school of thought applies (Paranada, 5/3).

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