KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

L.A. Times Investigates Doctors’ Connection To Prescription Drug Abuse

Also, a new study shows that most states are cutting back on antibiotic use.

Los Angeles Times: Legal Drugs, Deadline Outcomes
Prescription overdoses kill more people than heroin and cocaine. An L.A. Times review of coroners’ records finds that drugs prescribed by a small number of doctors caused or contributed to a disproportionate number of deaths (Glover and Girion, 11/11).

Los Angeles Times: Tighter Oversight Of Prescription Drug Deaths Sought
The chairman of a state Senate committee that oversees the Medical Board of California said Monday that he would introduce a bill requiring coroners to report all prescription drug deaths to the agency — a move aimed at helping authorities identify doctors whose prescribing practices may be harming patients. Sen. Curren D. Price Jr. (D-Los Angeles), responding to a Times' report that authorities have failed to recognize how often people overdose on medications prescribed by their doctors, said the medical board needed coroners' reports to improve its oversight (Girion and Glover, 11/12).

In other pharmaceutical news -

USA Today: Southeast Paying Health Price For High Antibiotic Use
Antibiotic use in the United States is dropping, but it is dropping most slowly in states that use the drugs the most – widening regional gaps that may be putting people in some Southeastern states at heightened risk for infections that no longer respond to antibiotics, a new analysis shows. ... [Researchers] have new data showing that urinary tract infections have became more resistant to antibiotics and that the problem is worst in regions where use is highest (Painter, 11/13).

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