Congress Quietly Protects Pharmacies While Trumpeting Efforts To Curb Opioid Epidemic
Although Congress has passed an opioid package that includes such things as bolstering prescription drug monitoring and funding drug disposal efforts, it also sent through a measure that limits the Drug Enforcement Administration's powers to pursue pharmacies and wholesalers that the agency believes have contributed to the epidemic.
The New York Times:
Actions By Congress On Opioids Haven’t Included Limiting Them
Ed White has had a devilish time getting his painkiller prescription filled for intense back pain since a federal crackdown on opioid sales battened down the pharmacy shelves at the Walgreens near his home in Port Richey, Fla. Across the state in Fort Lauderdale, Maureen Kielian just put her son into a residential treatment facility to try to break his life-threatening opioid addiction. To suggest that the federal authorities have been too aggressive amid an opioid epidemic killing 29,000 people a year is absurd, she said. Faced with these competing stories, Congress has whipsawed between ensuring access to narcotic painkillers for people like Mr. White and addressing the addiction epidemic linked to those drugs. (Harris and Huetteman, 5/18)
Meanwhile, the FDA is expected to rule this month on an implant treatment option for opioid addiction —
The Promise And Price Of New Addiction Treatment Implant
Amid a raging opioid epidemic, there’s a plea for more treatment options. The Food and Drug Administration expects to have a decision on one by May 27. It’s an implant. Four rods, each about the size of a match stick, inserted in the upper arm. This new device, called Probuphine, delivers a continuous dose of an existing drug, buprenorphine but with better results, says implant maker Braeburn Pharmaceuticals. (Bebinger, 5/19)