The metropolis of Everett in Washington state is suing Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, in an uncommon case that alleges the drugmaker knowingly allowed tablets to be funneled into the black market in Everett, serving to launch an opioid epidemic. (March 14)

Oxycontin tablets(Photo: Toby Talbot, AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — OxyContin has turn into some of the recognizable model names within the nation’s lethal opioid epidemic. Starting Jan. 1, the state’s largest well being insurer will stop protection of the drug in favor of a painkiller much less straightforward to abuse.

Florida Blue’s alternate, Xtampza ER, is just like OxyContin in that it’s an extended-release, oxycodone-based product. 

The mbadive distinction, the corporate stated Tuesday, is that Xtampza is extra chemically suited to forestall customers from crushing, snorting or injecting it — all technique of getting a faster, and doubtlessly extra deadly, excessive.

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Florida Blue’s new coverage won’t apply to generic oxycodone, which is offered as an immediate-release drug at decrease doses and is much less prone to be so abused, stated Scott McClelland, the corporate’s vice chairman of business and specialty pharmacy.

“Imagine if you could take an 80-milligram extended-release (OxyContin) tablet and crush it and inject it and get it all at once, as opposed to a five-milligram oxycodone tablet,” McClelland stated. “So, that’s the big reason there’s such huge concerns about these extended-release formulations. It’s a really big dose.”

The OxyContin ban applies to all Florida Blue particular person and group plans. Medicare Advantage plans are excluded.

Xtampza ER is manufactured by Canton, Mbad.-based Collegium Pharmaceutical Inc. Though it touts the drug’s “abuse-deterrent technology” it doesn’t badure that the drug can’t be abused.

The firm additionally notes: “Although Xtampza ER is formulated to make manipulation more difficult, it cannot entirely prevent abuse; abuse of Xtampza ER by injection and via the oral and nasal routes is still possible.”

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The firm’s determination to drop OxyContin follows a federal declaration earlier this 12 months that the nation is within the grips of an opioid overdose epidemic. Shortly thereafter, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed an government order declaring the opioid epidemic a statewide public well being emergency.

Opioids have been the direct trigger of two,664 Florida overdose deaths in 2016 and confirmed up within the toxicology reviews of four,515 Floridians that 12 months, in response to an interim reportfrom the Florida Medical Examiners Commission.

Fentanyl, morphine, and heroin have been the highest three causes of deadly opioid overdoses. Oxycodone was fourth.

Florida Blue usually pays for 1.5 million opioid prescriptions yearly, in response to the corporate. About eight% of that enterprise is for prescriptions lasting longer than 30 days, a bunch at the next danger for habit and overdose.

Florida Blue already has amount limits on long- and short-acting painkillers. It has additionally required prior approval for prescriptions of extended-release opioid painkillers, comparable to OxyContin and fentanyl.

The coverage was up to date Oct. 1 to incorporate prior approval for short-acting painkillers wanted for greater than seven days, McClelland stated.

“We want to prevent as much abuse and addiction and deaths related to these overdoses as possible,” he stated. “We’re just trying to take an active role and prevent these deaths that are occurring on a daily basis.”

Follow Frank Gluck on Twitter: @FrankGluck


Opioid habit is a staggering downside in Indiana, affecting 1 in 20 Hoosiers or practically 300,000 folks. The IndyStar is partnering with the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation on a yearlong reporting collection to boost consciousness of the opioid epidemic.
Dwight Adams/IndyStar


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