A Unique New York Law Allows State To Collect Taxes From Opioid Makers To Defray Cost Of Crisis. Companies Are Not Happy About It.
The state has sent the companies bills totaling about $600 million under the new Opioid Stewardship Act. In other news from the drug epidemic: pharmacists are trained on dispensing naloxone; a company hikes the price of an anti-overdose drug by 600 percent; Rhode Island develops a strategy to get prisoners effective addiction treatment; bixsexual women are more prone to misusing prescription opioids; and more.
The Wall Street Journal:
Opioid Industry Fights Efforts To Make It Pay For Crisis
Opioid makers and distributors are fighting a novel New York state law that aims to collect hundreds of millions of dollars from the industry to help defray costs of the opioid crisis, with some companies re-engineering their supply chain to avoid the new tax. Companies and trade groups have argued in three legal challenges filed in recent months that the law, which seeks $600 million over six years, is unconstitutional. They point to a lawsuit New York’s attorney general has already filed against major opioid industry players to recoup money for the state, and say the tax is an improper end-run around resolution of that case. (Randazzo, 11/19)
Pharmacists Dispense Naloxone. Can They Train Customers To Use It?
Sixty pharmacists began a recent Friday here in the company of a limbless dummy, watching an animation of a bird named Kiwi develop an addiction to golden nuggets. It was a pointed, if simplistic, way to explain the opioid crisis, and why first responders and even non-health professionals are often called upon to administer naloxone, the overdose-reversal drug. So at a conference just outside Washington, the dozens of pharmacists spent an hour of their free time learning to assemble nasal naloxone kits, squirt a milliliter of the drug into each nostril of someone experiencing an overdose — or use an autoinjector to stab them in the thigh and hold it there until a robotic voice finished counting to five. (Facher, 11/20)
Drug Maker Upped Opioid-Overdose Antidote Price 600 Percent. Taxpayers Paid
In order to capitalize on the opioid crisis, a small company that sells a version of naloxone, a decades-old drug that is widely used to reverse the effect of opioid and heroin overdoses, raised the price of its product by more than 600 percent between 2014 and 2017, which cost the federal government more than $142 million, according to a lengthy report from a Senate subcommittee. Central to its strategy, Kaleo circumvented the traditional pharmaceutical market by subsidizing patients who were given its Evzio opioid antidote device, instead of contracting with pharmacy benefit managers and insurers. In doing so, the company used a controversial scheme to provide Evzio at no cost to patients, but counted on private and public insurers to pay an ever-rising wholesale, or list, price. (Silverman, 11/19)
Rhode Island Inmates Get Top-Level Treatment For Opioid Addiction
In a windowless classroom at the John J. Moran medium-security prison in Cranston, R.I., three men sit around a table to share how and when they began using opioids. For Josh, now 39, it was when he was just 13 years old. "I got grounded for a week in my house, so I grabbed a bundle of heroin and just sat inside and sniffed it all week." "I started using heroin at 19," says Ray, now 23. "I was shooting it. It was with a group of friends that I was working with, doing roof work." (Hsu and Shapiro, 11/19)
The Washington Post:
Bisexual Women Are More Likely To Misuse Prescription Opioids, Study Finds. But Why?
People who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are more likely to misuse prescription opioids than those who identify as heterosexual — and bisexual women face a particularly high risk, according to a new nationwide study. The study from the New York University School of Medicine, published Monday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is the first to use a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States to examine sexual orientation as a risk factor for prescription opioid misuse, its authors said. (Schmidt, 11/19)
The Associated Press:
CVS Says Florida's Opioid Claim 'Without Merit’
The nation's second-largest drugstore chain says Florida's lawsuit alleging that it helped fuel the state's opioid crisis "is without merit." CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis issued a statement Saturday saying the company is "dedicated to helping reduce prescription drug abuse and diversion." That includes training pharmacists and their assistants and public education efforts. (11/19)
Denver City Council Supports Supervised Drug-Use Site
The Denver City Council on Monday night gave initial approval to a plan that could bring a supervised drug-use facility to Denver. The bill eventually could allow a nonprofit to operate one supervised facility in Denver, allowing people to inject heroin and use other drugs under the supervision of a medical professional. (Kenney, 11/19)