#1. FDA approves new dosage strength of buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film as maintenance treatment for opioid dependence
The FDA today issued a statement approving Cassipa (Teva Pharmaceuticals), a buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film for the maintenance treatment of opioid dependence. This adds a new dosage strength of 16 milligrams/4 milligrams of buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film, to the previously approved brand name and generic versions already available on the market in various strengths.
#2. Don’t Punish Pain movement has 78 rallies scheduled on September 18, 2018 across nation
Many patients who are dealing with chronic pain have found their opioid prescriptions restricted, cut off, or not being covered after a certain limit by payers. The FDA recently announced that they would be revisiting the 2016 CDC prescribing guidelines to be more condition specific. It is hoped that these efforts will result in case-by-case judgment for pain medication prescribing for patients so that no one will be left to suffer on a daily basis and find their ability to function severely restricted. And, while the new guidelines are being developed, it is hoped that the FDA and CDC will advise doctors to appropriately support patients with chronic pain.
A grassroots effort that has gained momentum is the Don’t Punish Pain organization. The organization is advocating on behalf of all the patients suffering from chronic pain who have found their pain medications unexpectedly taken away from them as an unfortunate consequence of the opioid epidemic.
September 18, 2018 will see nationwide rallies. To date, 78 rallies have organized in 34 states and the District of Columbia. Click here to find out location details and how to get involved in this effort.
#3. PAINWeek 2018 held this week in Las Vegas summary of highlights
The PAINWeek 2018 conference has been going on in Las Vegas September 4-8, 2018. Conference highlights are summarized here.
#4. Tennessee BlueCross BlueShield to stop covering OxyContin
The largest insurer in the state of Tennessee has decided not to cover pain management prescriptions for the opioid OxyContin from January 1, 2019.
“We are not telling our physicians you cannot prescribe this. We are not telling our members you cannot receive this,” said Natalie Tate, BlueCross vice president of pharmacy. “We are just drawing a line that we will not continue to pay for this and we have alternatives we have now put into place.”
Xtampza and Morphabond, two opioid pain relievers described as “abuse-deterrent” medication, will be covered as the preferred medications next year. These drugs are more expensive than OxyContin but BlueCross will absorb the additional cost and patient copays will remain unchanged.
For more information click here.
#5. Senate to vote on Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 next week
Finally, it was announced Thursday night that the senate has reached consensus on the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 as announced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesman Don Stewart. The much-awaited floor vote on the bill is therefore was likely next week. The House passed its version earlier in the summer.