Over 1 Million Illegally Manufactured Fentanyl Pills Have Been Seized by DEA This Year
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that agents in Arizona have cumulatively seized more than 1 million illicitly manufactured fentanyl pills in Fiscal Year 2018. These pills are designed to resemble oxycodone M-30 tablets, with the same coloring and markings, but have the potential to be much more dangerous. According to DEA, Mexican cartels began manufacturing their own fentanyl and using pill presses to create the pills, which are also being marketed as "Mexican oxy" to those seeking opioids on the black market. Arizona law enforcement seizures of illicit fentanyl have tripled each year since 2016.
Supreme Court Clears Way For Release Of Purdue Records
After a 3 1/2 year legal battle, secret records about Purdue Pharma's marketing of its potent opioid painkiller OxyContin will finally be made public. The Kentucky Supreme Court denied a request from Purdue to review lower courts' decisions to release the documents, according to a one-page order received Monday by the lawyers in the case. The decision is a major victory for STAT, which first filed a motion to unseal the records in March 2016. Purdue has fought to keep the documents out of view, but the Supreme Court's refusal is final and can't be appealed.
Joseph and Ross, Published in Stat
PMP Reduces 'Doctor Shopping' by 89%
The Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS), the prescription monitoring program (PMP) used in Ohio, has had a significant impact on the number of patients resorting to "doctor shopping" for prescription drugs. According to a press release published to the Governor of Ohio's website, OARRS has helped to reduce doctor shopping activity by 89% from 2011 to 2018, as reported by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. In addition, data indicate that the state saw a 4.6 million decline in opioid prescriptions from 2012 to 2018. The program receives more than 800,000 queries on average during weekdays from roughly 43,000 health care providers, according to Governor Mike DeWine, who spoke on OARRS at a press release on August 2, 2019.
OARRS is one of 51 total PMPs that are currently participating in NABP PMP InterConnect®. PMP InterConnect has been operating since 2011 and provides a solution to facilitate interoperability and secure interstate data sharing between PMPs. More than 53 million requests are being processed through the system each month
Johnson & Johnson Ordered To Pay $572 Million In Landmark Opioid Trial
A judge in Oklahoma on Monday ruled that Johnson & Johnson had intentionally played down the dangers and oversold the benefits of opioids, and ordered it to pay the state $572 million in the first trial of a drug manufacturer for the destruction wrought by prescription painkillers. The amount fell far short of the $17 billion judgment that Oklahoma had sought to pay for addiction treatment, drug courts and other services it said it would need over the next 20 years to repair the damage done by the opioid epidemic.
By Hoffman, Published in The New York Times
CMS Approves Rhode Island's 1332 Waiver
HHS on Monday approved Rhode Island's 1332 waiver application to create an individual market reinsurance fund supported by federal funding. Rhode Island anticipates the move will lower premiums and expand coverage statewide. The state expects the 1332 waiver will reduce premiums by 5.9% in 2020 compared to what they would be without the waiver, according to HHS. Rhode Island thinks the lower premiums will grow individual market enrollment by about 1% in 2020.
By Brady, Published in Modern Healthcare