#1 Illinois governor signs bill making medical marijuana alternative to opioids
“This law will give thousands of Illinoisans who struggle with the negative side effects of opioids, including harmful addiction, another choice to manage their pain. This is not about personal opinions about cannabis. It’s about giving people more control over their own health care and pain-relief options.”
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner stated as he signed the Alternatives to Opioids Act on August 28, 2018 at the Chicago Recovery Alliance on the West Side.
For more information on this pilot program review the Illinois Department of Public Health website page.
#2 Pediatrics journal study links opioid use during pregnancy to increases in learning disabilities
The results of a study published on August 30, 2018 in the journal of Pediatrics titled “Educational Disabilities Among Children Born With Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome” explores the longer-term effects on children whose mothers used opioids during pregnancy. Specifically, 1 in 7 kids needed special services for learning disabilities and other developmental needs compared to 1 in 10 kids whose mothers did not take opioids during pregnancy.
To access the study click here.
#3 Non-addictive opioid shows promise in animal studies
This week’s study results published in journal Science Translational Medicine on August 29, 2018 titled “A bifunctional nociceptin and mu opioid receptor agonist is analgesic without opioid side effects in nonhuman primates” is being widely hailed as the potential “holy grail” in the search for a non-addictive painkiller.
A group of researchers in North Carolina studying the compound AT-121 in rhesus monkeys found the agent’s analgesic properties to be about 100 times stronger than morphine without inducing impaired movement, lowered breathing, or any other abnormal physiological changes even at higher doses. They also observed no withdrawal symptoms after 3 days of use at high doses.
To access the study click here.
#4 FDA goes after illegal online opioid sales, 70 websites warned this summer
The FDA issued a press release on August 28, 2018 announcing they have issued warning letters to four networks to stop selling illegal opioids online through 21 websites.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., commented, “Today’s effort builds on previous actions against the illegal online sale of opioids, for a total of 13 warning letters to more than 70 websites just this summer. The FDA remains resolute in our promise to continue cracking down on these networks to protect the public health. We have more operations underway, and additional actions planned. We are also working closely with legitimate Internet stakeholders, including leading social media sites, in these public health efforts.”
The networks receiving warning letters include:
In June, the FDA had also warned these networks:
#5 Narcan, the naloxone nasal spray, and its parent company acquired by Emergent BioSolutions
Narcan, the nasal spray version of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone, is now owned by Emergent BioSolutions.
In a press release this week, Emergent announced acquiring Adapt Pharma and its flagship product Narcan.
Emergent expects the product to generate $200-220 MM in revenues in 2019. The acquisition price was $735 MM including $635 MM in upfront payments and $100 MM in milestone payments based on sales targets.