Florida insurer to cease masking oxycodone, will provide abuse-resistant different


Amid an epidemic of addiction and abuse tied to these powerful opioids drugs, the CDC is urging general doctors to try physical therapy, exercise and over-the-counter pain medications before turning to painkillers for chronic pain.

Amid an epidemic of habit and abuse tied to those highly effective opioids medication, the CDC is urging basic medical doctors to strive bodily remedy, train and over-the-counter ache drugs earlier than turning to painkillers for persistent ache.

 (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Florida’s largest medical insurance firm will cease masking one of the broadly used — and abused — prescription opioids amid a nationwide drug abuse epidemic.

Florida Blue stated Monday that beginning Jan. 1, 2018, it is going to not cowl the price of OxyContin, or oxycodone, prescriptions and as an alternative provide sufferers Xtampza ER. That drug turns right into a gel when crushed, so it can’t be simply snorted or smoked. Further, when Xtampza is crushed it releases a substance, often called an opioid antagonist, that minimizes the impact of the opioid.

“Most physicians, most plans have had a hands-off approach for a number of years, and we see where we are now,” Scott McClelland, Florida Blue’s vice chairman of business and specialty pharmacy, advised the Miami Herald. “We think it’s time for more people, including physicians in our community, the nurses, even the families to take a more proactive approach in trying to manage this epidemic.”

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McClelland added that the change is a part of a brand new strategy Florida Blue is taking to fight the rising abuse of opioids within the nation. In May, Florida Gov. Rick Scott introduced a statewide public emergency and, extra lately, federal officers declared a nationwide opioid overdose epidemic.

“The individuals struggling with drug use are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends and each tragic case leaves loved ones searching for answers and praying for help,” Scott stated. “Families across our nation are fighting the opioid epidemic and Florida is going to do everything possible to help our communities.”

Nationally, greater than 52,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2015 and that quantity has been rising drastically in recent times. More than half these deaths contain prescription opioids.

In Florida, opioids killed 2,538 folks in 2015 and contributed to the deaths of 1,358 different folks.

CDC opioid chart

McClelland thinks that prescribing Xtampza ER as an alternative of OxyContin is not going to solely curtail the rampant variety of overdose deaths, but additionally impact road costs.

“It makes the street value a lot less because it’s harder to manipulate,” McClelland stated.

Florida Blue’s newest transfer follows within the footsteps of its 2015 coverage that requires prior authorization for all oxycodone prescriptions of greater than seven days. That coverage, the corporate says, led to a 20 % discount in using long-term opioids by members over 12 months.

medical bottle and pills on background

Other insurance coverage firms have additionally taken steps to interchange OxyContin prescriptions with Xtampza ER, with Cigna baderting in October that it will cease masking the previous.

While Purdue Pharma, which manufactures OxyContin, says it helps limiting the provision of the drug, the corporate added that Florida Blue’s coverage will make it harder for medical doctors to handle habit amongst their sufferers and that Xtampza ER comes with its personal potential for abuse.

“Florida Blue’s decision limits prescribers’ options to help address the opioid crisis,” Danielle Lewis, a Purdue Pharma spokeswoman, stated in an e-mail to the Herald. “Further, while both products are formulated with properties designed to deter intranasal [snorting] and intravenous [injection] abuse, neither is abuse proof.”

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