DOJ Stepping Up Prosecutions Of Medical Providers Who Abuse Prescribing Authority

NPR interview, 11 December 2017
Host: Robert Siegel
“It’s believed that 80 percent of people addicted to heroin today started with prescription painkillers. The over-prescription of opioids in the U.S. has been well documented. NPR’s Robert Siegel speaks with U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about how the Department of Justice is ramping up prosecutions of medical providers who abuse their prescribing authority when it comes to opioids.”
Find transcript here.

Health Care Complaints Commission v Qadri [2017] NSWCATOD 155

Decision date: 30 October 2017
“Medical practitioner – inappropriate prescription of drugs of addiction without authority – held guilty of professional misconduct – finding that cancellation of registration is appropriate protective order – costs order made.”
Find decision here.

Communities losing ground in war against liquor giants: experts

ABC, 30 June 2017
Author: Sophie Scott
“More than three quarters of court cases where local communities are against big alcohol stores being built are being thrown out because judges do not have to consider the health impacts of planning decisions. In the first study of its kind, researchers from the Sax Institute and the George Institute for Global Health found that in more than 75 per cent of cases across Australia, the courts found in favour of the alcohol industry. Currently, researchers said courts could consider competition and noise issues but not public health and family violence impacts.”
Find article here.

Secondhand smoke exposure before birth may affect lungs into adulthood

Medical News Today, 29 June 2017
Author: Catharine Paddock
“Secondhand smoke is that produced by the burning of tobacco products such as cigars, cigarettes, and pipes that can be inhaled by people nearby. Breathing in secondhand smoke is also known as passive smoking. Smoke that is exhaled by someone who is smoking is also classed as secondhand smoke. Hundreds of the 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are toxic – that is, they cause some degree of harm to the body. These include 70 that can cause cancer. Adult susceptibility to lung diseases may depend on prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke.”
Find article here.

Legislature passes bill to rein in drug company perks for doctors

Press Herald, 20 June 2017
Author: Joe Lawlor
“A bill that would curtail gifts, speaking and consulting fees and expensive food flowing from pharmaceutical companies to doctors has passed the Legislature and awaits the signature of Gov. Paul LePage. the goal of the bill is to ensure doctors do not have conflicting interests when prescribing drugs – especially opioids – since Maine is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Maine had 376 drug overdose deaths in 2016 – an average of about one per day – an all-time high and 40 percent higher than in 2015.”
Find article here.

Unable To Arrest Opioid Epidemic, Red States Warm To Needle Exchanges

KHN, 14 June 2017
Author: Shefali Luthra
“A coalition — composed of public health advocates, former addicts and the law enforcement officers who used to harass and arrest them — bent on battling sky-high rates of opioid abuse. With the goal of curbing the spread of disease and preventing overdose, the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) has helped legalize needle exchanges, enabled safe disposal of used syringes and enacted protections for people who carry drug paraphernalia. The shift is at odds with national rhetoric. U.S. Attorney General has instructed his state counterparts to take a hard line in the war on drugs, encouraging arrest and jail time for relatively low-level infractions. But even some of the most conservative corners of the country are moving in the other direction.”
Find article here.

Public feedback sought on tighter laws to govern tobacco use

Straits Times, 12 June 2017
Author: Linette Lai
“The Health Ministry (MOH) is asking for feedback on its proposals to raise the minimum legal age for smoking from 18 to 21, and tighten laws governing the use of imitation tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. These changes will take the form of amendments to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, which was last modified in 2016 to introduce the ban on displaying tobacco products within sight of customers. Apart from preventing people aged 18 to 20 from buying tobacco products, the proposed changes would also make it more difficult for young people to get cigarettes from their peers.”
Find article here.

Are Pharmaceutical Companies to Blame for the Opioid Epidemic?

The Atlantic, 2 June 2017
Author: Alana Semuels
“Who is responsible for this? Some attorneys general and advocates are now asking in court whether the pharmaceutical companies who marketed the drugs and downplayed their addictive nature can be held legally responsible for – and made to pay for the consequences of – the crisis.”
Find article here.

Indonesia tobacco bill would open tap for ads aimed at kids, health official says

Reuters, 1 June 2017
Author: Eveline Danubrata and Stefanno Reinard
“A proposed Indonesian tobacco law will roll back regulations to discourage smoking in a country that already has one of the highest smoking rates in the world and open the floodgates to advertising aimed at teenagers, a health ministry official said. If the bill initiated by the parliament is passed, companies will no longer have to put grim pictures on cigarette packs of lung cancer or other diseases linked to smoking. School and playground areas would be designated as “no- cigarette-smoke zones” instead of “no-cigarette zones”, which would allow cigarettes to be sold or displayed there.”
Find article here.

Ohio Sues 5 Major Drug Companies For ‘Fueling Opioid Epidemic’

NPR, 31 May 2017
Author: Colin Dwyer
“The state of Ohio has sued five major drug manufacturers for their role in the opioid epidemic. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, state Attorney General Mike DeWine alleges these five companies “helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio.”
Find article here.