Even As Senate Is Poised To Pass Opioid Package, Many Controversial Issues Involving The Crisis Left Untouched
More contentious policies -- like protecting patient privacy and Medicaid funding -- are likely to be kicked down the road until the lame-duck session following the midterm elections. Meanwhile, the FDA wants to encourage the drug industry to develop nonaddictive alternatives to opioids, and the company that makes Narcan eyes schools as an untapped market.
The Senate Will Soon Vote On An Opioids Package, But A New Law Is Still Far Off
The Senate is likely to pass a comprehensive bill to address the opioid crisis in the coming weeks. The House did so in June. But the finish line on that long-discussed priority remains a long way off. Lawmakers have left untouched many of the bill’s most contentious issues, like debates over patient privacy and expensive changes to Medicaid payments for addiction treatment. There’s no sign yet they’ll iron out those issues before the Senate votes. (Facher, 8/30)
The Washington Post:
FDA Pushes For Development Of Non-Opioid Pain Medications
The Food and Drug Administration is planning new steps to encourage the development of nonaddictive alternatives to opioid pain medications, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview. As part of the effort, the agency plans to withdraw its existing 2014 guidance to the drug industry on pain medicines. That document is overly broad, Gottlieb said, and is sometimes a barrier to new products and innovations. The current guidelines call for a large number of studies to get FDA approval for general use for chronic pain, he added. (McGinley, 8/29)
Narcan Owner Sees Schools As Growth Area For Overdose Spray
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. Chief Executive Officer Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi said he sees an untapped market in U.S. high schools and colleges for Narcan, the opioid-overdose nasal spray his company will market after its acquisition of Adapt Pharma Inc. Narcan is available in 1,144 high schools across 31 states and 309 colleges and universities in 35 states, Abdun-Nabi said Wednesday in an interview. That’s a small percentage of the nation’s more than 24,000 public high schools and over 4,000 colleges and universities, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. (Hopkins, 8/29)
And in the states —
Virginia Moves Toward E-Prescribing Mandate For Opioids By 2020
A legislatively mandated work group of medical industry stakeholders agreed Wednesday on a set of recommended changes to the 2017 state law requiring the transition to e-prescribing of all opioids by July 2020. The law — part of an effort to lessen the abuse of the drugs — is intended to reduce errors, theft and forgery of prescriptions, and to help prescribers track what medications a patient has received as the state grapples with a public health crisis. (Balch, 8/29)
Can Medical Marijuana Fight Ohio's Opioid Epidemic?
[Leanne] Barbee and other advocates of Ohio’s coming medical-marijuana program say they hope to enlist the drug not just to help individuals avoid opioids for pain treatment but to break the addiction epidemic’s hold on the Buckeye State. (Saker and Schultz, 8/29)