KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: DrugTo Treat Opioid Addiction Hard To Get; What Did ‘Dr. Google’ Say?

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

RealClear Health: How Big Pharma Is Hindering Treatment Of The Opioid Addiction Epidemic
Drugs do exist to reverse opioid overdoses or treat long-term opioid addiction. But while opioids have become easier and easier to obtain through illicit markets and sellers on the dark web, a drug that could save countless lives has become increasingly out of reach. Consider the addiction treatment drug, Suboxone. Patents and other exclusivities on the basic version of Suboxone expired some time ago, yet the price remains sky-high, and access problems persist. (Robin Feldman, 8/9)

Stat: There's Little Evidence Abuse-Deterrent Opioids Work. Why Use Them?
The term “abuse-deterrent opioid” is a misnomer. These products do not prevent the most common form of opioid abuse — ingesting pills orally in a way that isn’t consistent with the actual prescription. These products do make it more difficult to crush, snort, or inject the underlying opioid. Because of this, some have suggested that these products be referred to as “tamper-resistant.” Yet these products aren’t truly tamper-resistant, either, because they are subject to manipulation, with instructions easily found in internet forums. (C. Bernie Good, Chronis Manolis and William Shrank, 8/8)

KevinMD: We Can No Longer Ignore Dr. Google
In a world of cyberchondria and a web polluted with unlimited medical data, patients are searching their symptoms, diagnoses and treatment options even before going to a physician. Nowadays, at least one third of patients go on the Internet for self-diagnosis — or, often, self-misdiagnosis. After searching for a symptom, understanding e-medical facts is not as simple as reading hotel amenities or reviewing a pizza place. This paradigm introduces new patient behaviors that physicians are not prepared to deal with in medical school, nor during training years. (Homere Al Moutran, 8/8)

PBS NewsHour: The Never-Ending Debate Over Finishing Your Antibiotics
Recently, a group of British health professionals penned a compelling analysis in The BMJ, advocating for shorter antibiotics courses — even going so far as to say that maybe patients should stop taking antibiotics once they feel better. ... But there’s a flip side: Overusing antibiotics can cause usually nice bugs, with which we coexist, to gain resistance. (Fedor Kossakovski, 8/8)

The Washington Post: Maryland Is Mired In A Medical-Marijuana Morass
Maryland's medical marijuana program has been so sluggish to take flight, so dazed in setting rules for applicants and so muddled in evaluating them that one might fairly wonder if the entire undertaking were conducted under the influence. Three years after it was approved, the state’s legal pot program is still earthbound. While licenses are scheduled at last to be awarded to grow, process and dispense cannabis this month, few of the nearly 30 states that have legalized the drug for medical purposes have been so slow to get their programs up and running. (8/8)

Raleigh News & Observer: NC Health Care, Among Worst In Nation, Is Feeling Poorly
It is sad that with every new report ranking states in terms of the quality of their health care, including expense and accessibility and the health of citizens, North Carolina continues to fare poorly. A new report by the personal finance website WalletHub ranks the state the fifth-worst in the country for health care. ... This state, home to nationally-respected university medical schools, should have much higher rankings in terms of the quality of health of residents. But to accomplish that, more people have to be covered and getting access to the kind of steady, preventative care that good insurance can provide. (8/8)

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