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.

Emergency Legal Authority and the Opioid Crisis

NEJM Perspective, 15 November 2017
Authors: Lainie Rutkow, Jon S. Vernick
“Recently, six states have taken the unusual step of using their legal authority to declare their opioid-overdose situation an emergency. When a government issues an emergency declaration, it can temporarily act to mitigate the emergency using powers and resources that might not otherwise be available to it. Typically, emergency declarations pertain to natural disasters or infectious disease outbreaks. The severity of the opioid-overdose crisis has led to some of the first emergency declarations for a noncommunicable health condition, though their impact remains unclear.”
Find article here.

U.S. states allege broad generic drug price-fixing collusion

Reuters, 1 November 2017
Author: Karen Freifeld
“A large group of U.S. states accused key players in the generic drug industry of a broad price-fixing conspiracy, moving on Tuesday to widen an earlier lawsuit to add many more drugmakers and medicines in an action that sent some company shares tumbling.”
Find article here.

Health Care Complaints Commission v Noore [2017] NSWCATOD 145

Decision date: 19 October 2017
“Professional misconduct-unsatisfactory professional conduct-medical practitioner consuming illicit drugs-practitioner prescribing drugs to person with whom practitioner had close personal relationship contrary to cl 3.14 of Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia- prescribing drugs to person when practitioner had no specialist experience for treatment in the subject matter-Practitioner suffering from substance and depressive disorder. Substance use disorder.”
Find decision here.

Newly controversial opioid enforcement law under fire

The Hill, 17 October 2017
Author: Rachel Roubein
“Several lawmakers are pushing to repeal or revisit a law critics say enables the flow of deadly and addictive opioids, hours after President Trump’s drug czar nominee withdrew his name amid the controversy.”
Find article here.

U.S. judge clears way for Maryland drug price-gouging law

Reuters, 30 September 2017
Author: Deena Beasley
“A U.S. District Court judge on Friday cleared the way for Maryland to implement the nation’s first law designed to penalize drugmakers for price gouging by denying the generic drug industry trade group’s request for an injunction.”
Find article here.

‘His death still hurts’: the Pfizer anti-smoking drug ruled to have contributed to suicide

The Guardian, 15 September 2017
Author: Andrew McMillen
“When the retired Queensland schoolteacher Phoebe Morwood-Oldham started an online petition following her son’s suicide in April 2013, she could not have known that her insistence on asking hard questions of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies would lead to an Australian-first finding by a state coroner.”
Find article here.

A doctor prescribed so many painkillers, she’s been charged with murdering her patients, authorities say

Washington Post, 24 June 2017
Author: Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
“Law enforcement agents aren’t just going after drug dealers and Mexican cartels — they’re also targeting pharmaceutical companies and doctors, who they say are irresponsibly flooding the nation with potent painkillers, and holding them responsible for overdose deaths.”
Find article here.

Health and Public Policy to Facilitate Effective Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Involving Illicit and Prescription Drugs: An American College of Physicians Position Paper

Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(10):733-736.
Authors: Ryan Crowley, Neil Kirschner, Andrew S. Dunn, Sue S. Bornstein
“Substance use disorders involving illicit and prescription drugs are a serious public health issue. In the United States, millions of individuals need treatment for substance use disorders but few receive it. The rising number of drug overdose deaths and the changing legal status of marijuana pose new challenges. In this position paper, the American College of Physicians maintains that substance use disorder is a treatable chronic medical condition and offers recommendations on expanding treatment options, the legal status of marijuana, addressing the opioid epidemic, insurance coverage of substance use disorders treatment, education and workforce, and public health interventions.”
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.