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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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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Purdue Pharma “Fights Opioid Epidemic” – Too Little, Too Late?

Purdue Pharma is one of the largest opioid makers in the country and the subject of countless lawsuits in the past few years. They’ve received scrutiny over their choices to market and push Oxycontin on the doctors, and in February, they promised to stop actively marketing the drug. Now, this opioid maker is making efforts to help the people that are now addicted to their drugs. But is it just another PR campaign to mitigate the company’s bad reputation?   Critics say that all of this is “too little, too late.” Thousands have died from what even lawmakers say are irresponsible and maybe even illegal practices to push the drug. However, the dire consequences of opioid addiction make it so many localities can’t discriminate between funds. For many people addicted to opioids across the US, there simply isn’t enough help available. The federal government’s Opioid Commission is considered pretty much a “bust”, with lots of recommendations and few monetary resources to implement them. Many states are spending too much…

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Dr. Phil’s Addicted Guests Allegedly Exploited

Dr. Phil’s Addicted Guests Allegedly Exploited
Dr. Phil at the 1st Annual Merv Griffen/Beverly Hills Country Club Celebrity Tennis Classic to benefit ChildHelp USA, Beverly Hills Country Club, Beverly Hills, CA 09-21-02

A little over a week ago, revelations that Dr. Phil exploited people with addiction disorders made its way all over the news, shocking addiction recovery advocates and dismaying many of the treatment centers and interventionists he frequently works with when staging interventions. Several guests appearing on Phil McGraw’s talk show told of temptation in their green rooms, and drug offerings such as pills that "calm nerves," casting doubt on his good intentions. Guests that have appeared on his show are often left without a support system in place as they wait for their turn on the recorded show. For some, this means they are required to “detox” alone in a hotel room, without medical intervention, for up to 48 hours. By the time they arrive at the studio, many of them are physically and emotionally exhausted. Experts say that this is because the show has partnerships with treatment centers in other states, who are not licensed to provide assistance in the state where Dr. Phil's show is taped for…

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Insurance Giant Cigna to Halt Coverage for Oxycontin

Cigna health insurance, the fourth largest insurer in the US company with over 11,400,000 members, has taken what is seen as a drastic step in the fight against opioid addiction. Effective in January, the insurance giant will effectively stop covering the cost of use of the opioid OxyContin. While many in the addiction treatment profession have lauded this change, it’s important to look more carefully at what’s really going on. At the same time that Cigna announced they would no longer be providing coverage for Oxycontin, the company also announced a contract to continue covering a competing oxycodone alternative by the name of Xtampza ER. The contract includes a financial penalty on that drug's maker if Cigna discovers the drug is overprescribed or there are other patterns indicating the drug has become a drug of abuse. Because of this stipulation, the manufacturer also has more motivation to monitor sales and look for areas of abuse and high prescription rates. Cigna's announcement comes just a year after the insurer said…

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