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This state’s largest insurer just cut coverage to OxyContin

In an effort to save you opioid abuse, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama will now not duvet OxyContin.

The insurer introduced Wednesday it’ll prevent masking the medicine on Jan. 1, in reaction to the masses of overdose deaths that happen every year within the state. In 2016, 742 folks died after overdosing on opioids in Alabama. BCBS will proceed to duvet positive sorts of oxycodone and choices, the insurer said. OxyContin is the logo title for oxycodone, an opioid drugs that treats reasonable to serious ache and is extremely addictive.

Purdue Pharma, the producer of OxyContin, mentioned it now not markets opioids to prescribing healthcare execs thru a gross sales group however stays dedicated to sufferers who want the medicine. “The nation’s opioid crisis is a significant and urgent public health challenge, and Purdue Pharma is deeply concerned about the toll this crisis is having on communities,” the corporate mentioned in a remark. The producer reformulated OxyContin 8 years in the past to deter intranasal and intravenous abuse.

See: Opioids only partly explain America’s ‘deaths of despair’

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama isn’t the primary insurer to react to opioid abuse. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee additionally mentioned it might drop OxyContin coverage subsequent 12 months, and Cigna stopped masking the drug in January 2018. “Our focus is on helping customers get the most value from their medications — this means obtaining effective pain relief while also guarding against opioid misuse,” Cigna mentioned last year.

Florida’s largest insurer, Florida Blue,(a licensee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida) stopped covering OxyContin prescriptions there in January 2018. The insurer mentioned there used to be a 68% relief in usage of OxyContin, and that it has noticed a 75% building up in non-opioid prescriptions to its contributors around the state, together with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (equivalent to Motrin and Advil) and non-drug remedies (workout, bodily remedy and rest coaching).

Opioids are much more likely to be prescribed in puts with decrease median family earning and better unemployment charges, and prescriptions for them are extra prevalent amongst people who find themselves 55 to 64 years previous, in accordance to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research of virtually three.five million adults below 65 with disabilities and receiving Medicare Part D. The South, Southwest and Midwest are the place opioid prescriptions have been maximum not unusual, the CDC discovered.

More than 115 folks die after overdosing on opioids each day within the U.S., in accordance to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. More than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, together with illicit medicine and prescription opioids (a two-fold building up in 10 years), in accordance to initial CDC knowledge. That’s when compared to 41,000 Americans who died in automobile crashes last year.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama mentioned opioid prescriptions around the nation, and particularly Alabama, had been declining since 2015, and during the last two years prescriptions for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s contributors have reduced 18%. Still, “while progress is being made, this issue calls for continued action by all parties,” Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama mentioned in a remark.

Also see: Jamie Lee Curtis: ‘I was ahead of the curve of the opiate epidemic’

But defeating opioid abuse and overdose deaths could also be an uphill combat. Despite issues from well being advocates, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed a brand new opioid drugs previous this month this is no less than 500 times more potent than morphine. AceIRx Pharmaceuticals, the producer of this drugs (referred to as Dsuvia), mentioned it used to be dose-adjusted to be no more potent than already to be had drugs adore it.

President Donald Trump declared opioid habit a countrywide well being emergency in October 2017. The Senate handed bipartisan legislation in September 2018 to struggle the opioid disaster. To turn out to be legislation, the invoice would have to be reconciled with law the House of Representatives handed previous within the 12 months, regardless that Senate contributors mentioned they have been positive that might occur through the tip of the 12 months.

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