KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Feds Announce Comprehensive Plan To Combat Painkiller Abuse

The new strategy will put increased pressure on the state of Florida, which has a reputation as being "the nation's pill mill."

The Wall Street Journal: FDA Heightens Painkiller Oversight
Letters have been sent to manufacturers of the drugs describing the medication guides and tools for physician training that are now required, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said. The FDA will approve the materials, which will also be accredited by professional physician-education providers, she said, a step meant to combat bias in the materials (Gleason, 4/20).

The Hill: Federal Fight Against Prescription-Drug Abuse Puts Pressure On Florida
Florida is under increasing pressure to tackle its reputation as the nation's pill mill as the Obama administration and lawmakers of both parties vow to tackle the growing epidemic of painkiller deaths. Health and anti-drug officials on Tuesday unveiled a new strategy that calls for states to create and beef up databases that track prescription drugs, a move Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has resisted until recently (Pecquet, 4/19).

The Associated Press: U.S. Aims At Its Deadliest Drug Problem: Painkillers
The federal government on Tuesday announced its first-ever comprehensive strategy to combat the abuse of oxycodone and other opioids, aiming to cut misuse by 15 percent in five years. That goal may sound modest, but it would represent a dramatic turnaround: Emergency room visits from prescription drug overdoses doubled from 2004 to 2009, when they topped 1.2 million, according to federal health officials (4/19).

PBS Newshour: Prescription Drug Abuse Targeted As A 'Public Health Crisis'
The Obama administration launched a major campaign Tuesday to combat prescription drug abuse, which it says is the nation's fastest growing drug problem. The program, announced at a press conference in Washington, aims to reduce abuse rates of some non-medical prescription drugs by 15 percent over by five years and to cut down on the number of unintentional overdose deaths. It would require drugmakers to raise awareness about the dangers of painkillers like OxyContin and seek legislation to require doctors to get training before they could prescribe such drugs. Plus it calls for spending more than $200 million more on drug prevention and treatment programs in the 2012 fiscal year (Bowser, 4/19). 

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