Software Provider Pushed Opioid Prescriptions On Doctors

A company that provided electronic patient records made a secret deal with the opioid prescribers to recommend opioid prescriptions to doctors. Your medical record is just between you and your doctor, right? Not necessarily. According to an investigation by Bloomberg News, your doctor is allowed to share information with pharmaceutical companies and others involved with your treatment. For a software maker called Practice Fusion, this was a goldmine to be exploited and push unneeded treatments on patients with pain. Millions of Prescriptions Possibly Created The software was used by tens of thousands of doctors’offices and was designed specifically by the request of an opioid manufacturer.  Doctors used the software to get treatment plan recommendations and an alert would pop up every time a person’s medical file met certain pain criteria. The software could then prescribe a “treatment plan” including opioids for months on end. Practice Fusion set a loose algorithm to recommend opioids to certain patients experiencing both short-term and chronic pain. It total, the software sent an alert…

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Sacklers Drained Purdue Money After First Lawsuit

Purdue Pharma and three executives pleaded guilty in 2007 and taking part in misleading the public about the risks of OxyContin. The Sacklers, who own the company, began to drain money from the company shortly after, according to the BBC. Between 2008 and 2017, the family transferred about $10.7 billion out of Purdue Pharma. The amount of money greatly exceeds withdrawals that the family made - $1.3 billion - between 1995 and 2007. Lawsuits Threaten the Company’s Survival In the past nine years, states, cities, and counties have started to sue Purdue for their misdeeds. At last, most of the lawsuits were added together in court. Now U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain of White Plains, New York, will soon decide to decide whether to approve a $12 billion settlement. The payout would cover more than 2,700 lawsuits over its role in the opioid addiction crisis. The payout will potentially bankrupt the company, but they still have pharmaceutical companies that may remain unaffected and do business overseas. On May 10,…

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Hydromorph Contin Causing Heart Damage, Infections

Four years ago, the Ontario government decided to ban the use of Oxycontin, hoping to stop the pattern of increased opioid addiction in the province. Unfortunately, like every place banning Oxy, the medical profession needed another drug to take its place. Today, it appears that the drug most used is Hydromorph Contin. And now doctors say it’s causing deadly heart infections. What is Hydromorph Contin? Hydromorphone Contin is chemically similar to Oxycontin, but it’s meant to be harder to abuse, and it’s formulated mostly for people experiencing severe, acute pain such as those from accidents like car crashes or cancer. The drugs itself was designed to deter abuse and prevent injection by turning into a thick, gel-like substance when exposed to water. How Are People Getting Hurt? Unfortunately, if there is a will, there’s a way, especially when it comes to people with addiction finding new ways to use their drug of choice. Authorities say addicted persons looking to get their fix have discovered a dangerous workaround for Hydromorph…

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Oxycontin Patent Expiring in Canada. Now What?

In Canada, just like the United States, there is an addiction epidemic currently being fought by communities and the government. Lawsuits against drug makers are also underway. Purdue Pharma, the original manufacturer of Oxycontin, is largely blamed for the opioid epidemic. Their patent in Canada is expiring, leaving the market open to cheaper, generic versions of the drug. Why Allow More Opioids on the Market? Many people argue that there should be no more Oxycontin on the market period. The drug has caused devastation across North America. Purdue Pharma certainly pushed the drug deceptively. An opioid maker without such a checkered past would be a welcome relief to sales representatives and hospitals. But a generic version would also create more opportunities for misuse and abuse. Can a regulatory body police the actions of addictive drugs effectively? There are a lot of misgivings about the benefits of offering a generic version of Oxy. The truth of the matter is that there are thousands of people in hospital rooms that need…

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JPMorgan Chase Dumps Purdue Pharma

JP Morgan Chase, the banking giant which handles accounts for Oxycontin manufacturer, Perdue Pharma, has told them to take their business elsewhere. JP Morgan did not lend money to Purdue, but JPMorgan's commercial bank managed the company's cash and bill payments, according to NBC. It’s currently unknown how long the bank handled finances for the pharmaceutical giant. The company is an enormous banker in the United States. According to inside sources, the banker has dropped Purdue Pharma due to its involvement in the opioid industry, and presumably because Purdue faces nearly 2,000 lawsuits in the United States. Banks have always made it a practice to refuse to lend credit to companies with risky ties or lousy credit. Purdue’s ongoing litigation certainly made it easier for the bank to drop them. The company has even considered bankruptcy as a way to free up assets due to the continuing lawsuits. Opioid Lawsuits Taking a Toll Purdue recently settled a lawsuit in Oklahoma for a staggering 270 million dollars. The money will…

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Insurers Crack Down on Dental Opioid Prescriptions

A recent study revealed that for many teens, opioid abuse begins with wisdom tooth extractions. The unnecessary prescriptions can lead to lifelong addiction, progressing to other opioid usages including heroin addiction. And now, insurers are discouraging opioid use for dental extractions, asking doctors to rely on Tylenol instead. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine last December, found that youths age 16 to 25 who first used opioids after dental care were more than ten times more likely than their peers to be diagnosed with opioid abuse. Startlingly, opioid use disorder often emerges within just a year of getting their first prescription. The Kansas City Star spoke with United Healthcare’s chief dental officer Ted Wong, who said that the relationship between dental prescriptions and opioid abuse makes sense. He explained that adolescents are more sensitive to drugs like opioids because their brains are developing. Opioid prescriptions for wisdom tooth procedures are common for young people, and nearly 5 million people have their wisdom teeth removed every year. “That gave…

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Controversial Fentanyl Test Strips Now Available

Many drugs that are sold on the street have been tainted with fentanyl, a powerful drug that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. For some users, the tainted drug is too powerful. A controversial test strip that can test for fentanyl can save lives, but some people aren’t too excited about it. Why Test for Fentanyl? Fentanyl is taking lives faster than any drug before it, and many users accidentally ingest fentanyl when a drug is laced with it. Harm reduction advocates, who afvocate for spafe spaces and less strict drug laws, say this can save countless lives. The Fentanyl test strip technology was originally developed by a Canadian biotech company BTNX for urine drug testing. The dru strips, however, also work in liquid heroin or when a water is added to empty baggies of cocaine. In other words, it can test for the presence of fentanyl in liquids. Researchers at Johns Hopkins and Brown University determined the test strips can even detect a small amount of…

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Blue Cross Stops Covering Oxy Jan. 1st, Offers Abuse-Deterrent Opioids

A few months ago, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, one of the nation's largest health insurers, announced that they would stop covering Oxycontin, a drug known for its addictive properties as well as its manipulation of doctors through marketing. The makers of Oxy, Perdue Pharma, have also stopped marketing the drugs to doctors, perhaps as a result of dozens of lawsuits stemming from the opioid addiction crisis here in the US. While many people hail this as a good sign, the Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage of pain relievers aren’t going to stop doctors from prescribing the medication in its generic form, or other variations of opioids in its place. A closer look at the changes that Blue Cross is making shows that the company isn't necessarily shunning opioids. They still plan to cover oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin. Instead, they plan on shifting coverage to new formulations designed to be harder to abuse. Two New Drugs Blue Cross is Covering RoxyBond is short-acting (SA) oxycodone formulation with what the FDA…

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Perdue Pharma Will Profit From Medication-Assisted Treatment

Perdue Pharma makes Oxycontin, one of the most addictive prescription opioid drugs on the market. They’re a subject of many lawsuits and have been under Congressional investigation for their activities promoting opioid medications to doctors and other medical professionals. Many people say their company has made hundreds of millions of dollars fueling the addiction epidemic. However, the company has now started to dig into a new way to make money from the opioid epidemic. They’ve been quietly working to patent a new form of buprenorphine, a drug that is regularly used to help people get off of opioids. What is Perdue’s New Addiction Medication? In the recovery community, buprenorphine better known as a medication-assisted treatment when people take these drugs to stay clean. Perdue’s version is a “fast-acting” form of buprenorphine, which helps control drug cravings, according to CBS reported. While other versions of the drug are available in either tablet or dissolving strips, the Purdue version comes in a "wafer" that dissolves in only a few seconds.  …

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ACLU Sues to Help Man in Maine Get Medication-Assisted Treatment in Jail

The ACLU is assisting a man from Caribou, Manie in suing for the right to continue his addiction treatment medication while he serves his upcoming jail sentence. If the lawsuit is successful, it will create a persuasive precedent and pave the way to create fundamental changes in how jails and prisons treat inmates with substance use disorders. Zachary Smith, 30, filed his civil rights lawsuit in federal court Thursday against the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office and Maine Department of Corrections. The current jail policy of prevents inmates from continuing their medication-assisted treatment, such as Suboxone or methadone, while incarcerated. The assumption seems to be that while in prison drugs and alcohol are unavailable, therefore, treatment isn’t needed. Most jails allow twelve-step meetings to be brought in from the outside and allow inmates to have sponsors and participate in these meetings. In most cases, access to treatment is limited, and few inmates have constant contact with the outside world. There are still plenty of drugs smuggled into these settings, which…

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