CDC Opioid Guidelines For Providers That Sparked Concern At The Time May Have Helped Cut Prescription Rates
Chronic pain patients worried the guidelines would impede their access to needed medication. Two years later the rules have seemed to make a dent in overall prescription practices, though some caution that it's hard to attribute the decrease to any one thing. Meanwhile, lawmakers ask CMS to include substance disorder patients in the Medicare Advantage value-based insurance design model.
Those Controversial CDC Opioid Guidelines May Have Caused 'Better Prescribing'
More than two years after the federal government released controversial guidelines for prescribing opioids, a new analysis suggests the effort is having an impact as the number of prescriptions for the addictive painkillers has declined. Here are some numbers: In January 2012, nearly 6,600 opioid prescriptions were dispensed per 100,000 people, but by December 2017, that fell to 4,240. And from the time the guidelines were issued in March 2016 until last December, there were an estimated 14.2 million fewer prescriptions filled than if previous trends continued. There were nearly 1.3 million fewer high-dose prescriptions written as well. (Silverman, 9/13)
Senators Ask CMS To Include Opioid Treatment In Medicare Advantage Model
A bipartisan group of senators asked the CMS to expand the Medicare Advantage value-based insurance design model to include substance abuse disorder patients, saying it could help combat the opioid epidemic. Starting in 2020, the CMS should add substance use disorders to the specified clinical conditions identified in the current demonstration, Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) wrote in a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma on Wednesday. (Dickson, 9/13)
And in news from the states on the epidemic —
Oregon DOJ Says Opioid Manufacturer Targets Senior Citizens, Lied To Sell Drugs In State
Opioid powerhouse Purdue Pharma lied to the Oregon State Board of Pharmacy and targeted senior citizens, claims a lawsuit filed Thursday by the Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. Rosenblum's office filed a notice June 27 in a first step toward suing the Oxycontin manufacturer over what the state says are 10 years of violations of a state settlement. The notice demanded Purdue abide by the terms of a 2007 settlement or Oregon would sue. (Harbarger, 9/13)
Provider Groups Hit Back At California's Death Certificate Project
Leaders in organized medicine in California and nationally are expressing horror over the state medical board's "Death Certificate Project." "This is terrifying," said Barbara McAneny, MD, president of the American Medical Association and an Albuquerque, N.M., oncologist. It "will only discourage doctors from taking care of patients with pain." (Clark, 9/12)
Walsh Administration To Target Pharmaceutical Companies In Lawsuit Over Opioid Epidemic
Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Thursday that the city has filed a lawsuit against 13 drug manufacturers, four distributors, and a local doctor, blaming the prescription painkiller industry for an opioid epidemic that has ravaged families across the city and the state. The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court, seeks reimbursement of more than $64 million the city has spent since 2014 in response to the epidemic, as well as payment for future costs and for rehabilitation services and programs. (Valencia, 9/13)
The CT Mirror:
Drug Deaths Expected To Remain Level In 2018, Following Years Of Staggering Increases
State officials project accidental drug deaths to remain virtually flat this year, marking the first break in the momentum of an epidemic that has shown double-digit increases year after year since at least 2012. Connecticut’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Thursday announced a projected overdose death total of 1,030 for 2018 — almost identical to the 2017 total of 1,038. There were 515 overdose deaths in the first six months of 2018, the medical examiner reported. (Kara and Rigg, 9/13)