With opioid prescribing regulations being updated, national policy announcements, state guidelines as well as daily commentary regarding the opioid epidemic flooding news outlets, the AffirmHealth Weekend Round Up looks at the top headlines that caught our team’s eye. From controlled substance protocols to research focusing on pain management, addiction medicine, the ER and more provided to you in an easy to access summary. News you can use. Welcome to the Weekend Round Up.


July 19, 2018

Drug Firms Blame Opioid Crisis on Illicit Websites, Dealers

Source: Bloomberg

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

Two pharmaceutical companies say the real culprits in the opioids epidemic are illegal dealers of the painkillers and want them to be on the hook financially for any damages potentially assessed against drugmakers.

Endo International Plc  and Mallinckrodt Plc sued a host of convicted drug dealers and Internet sites this week for illegally offering opioids. Among them: RxCash.Biz, which offers misbranded opioids online, an Italian man indicted for of operating so-called pill mills, and a Tennessee resident who’s serving 10 years for possessing fentanyl with an intent to distribute.

Find the Full Article Here: Drug Firms Blame Opioid Crisis on Illicit Websites, Dealers



July 19, 2018

San Bernardino and Riverside Counties Sue Drug Companies, Distributors and Pharmacies Over Opioid Epidemic

Source: San Bernardino Sun

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

San Bernardino County filed a lawsuit Thursday, July 19,  joining neighboring Riverside County and several municipalities nationwide, against multiple drug companies, distributors and pharmacies alleging that their “aggressive and fraudulent” marketing of prescription opioid painkillers and distribution practices have led to the opioid crisis plaguing the nation.

San Bernardino County officials said at least 35 people died in 2017 from opiate overdoses. Apart from that, there were at least 259 non-heroin opioid overdose emergency department visits and 179 hospitalizations as a result of opioid overdoses in their county, they said.

Riverside County filed a similar complaint June 27. In 2017, at least 125 people died from opiate overdoses in that county, an increase from 107 opiate overdose fatalities in 2016. There were at least 309 opioid overdose emergency department visits in the county and 244 hospitalizations involving opioid overdose. More than 1.5 million prescriptions were written in 2017 for an opioid medication within Riverside County.

Find the Full Article Here: San Bernardino and Riverside Counties File Suit



July 20, 2018

Doctors Raise Alarm About Shortages of Pain Medications

Source: NPR

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

In an informal survey of nearly 2,500 anesthesiologists conducted by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, 98 percent of respondents said they "regularly experience drug shortages at their institutions." More than 95 percent say those shortages impact the way they treat their patients.

Dr. Jim Grant, president of the 53,000-member ASA, says there is reason to be worried. He says every day when they begin work, "we go in [asking], 'What do we have today, what don't we have today?' It's not unusual for me to get a call from the pharmacist, 'We have X number of this left; we're working on somewhat of a contingency plan.' "

Grant says in addition to Dilaudid, morphine and fentanyl, his members report shortages of bupivacaine, a local anesthetic, and the lifesaving drug epinephrine.

Find the Full Article Here: Doctors Raise Alarm



July 20, 2018

Arkansas Approves Rules With Opioid Prescription Limits

Source: Insurance Journal

AffirmHealth Key Take Away:

An Arkansas panel has given final approval to regulations that will require doctors who prescribe high doses of opioid pain medication to follow guidelines meant to limit potential abuse, including exploring alternative treatments and limiting prescriptions.

The Legislative Council’s Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee approved the regulations despite repeated complaints from patients who said the rules will force them to live with more pain, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Find the Full Article Here: Arkansas Approves Rules with Opioid Prescrition Limits

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