PHARMACY

CDC announces $20 million to fight prescription drug abuse

BY David Salazar

ATLANTA —  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday a new program, “Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States,” which aims to invest in 16 states currently battling an epidemic of prescription drug overdoses. The program will commit $20 million in FY2015 and is part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Opioid initiative.

“The prescription drug overdose epidemic requires a multifaceted approach, and states are key partners in our efforts on the front lines to prevent overdose deaths,” said HHS secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. “With this funding, states can improve their ability to track the problem, work with insurers to help providers make informed prescribing decisions, and take action to combat this epidemic.”

Under the program 16 states — Ariz., Calif., Ill., Ky., Neb., N.M., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., Tenn., Utah, Vt. And Wis. — will receive between $750,000 and $1 million in funding each year for the next four years. The money will go to enhance prescription drug monitoring programs, implementing community-level prevention, responding to overdose issues, developing communications campaigns or surveillance systems and working with providers, health systems and insurers to discuss how to make informed prescribing decisions around pain medication. In the coming year’s budget from the President, there is a request from Burwell that will seek funding for a 50-state prevention and abuse surveillance program. 

In addition to combatting prescription drug abuse, funding also will go toward understanding heroin overdoses and the connection between opioid abuse and heroin use. In 2013, prescription opioid overdoses killed 16,000 people, and the number of prescriptions has quadrupled since 1999 despite no shift in the amount of reported pain among U.S. patients, the CDC said.

“The prescription drug overdose epidemic is tragic and costly, but can be reversed,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said. “Because we can protect people from becoming addicted to opioids, we must take fast action now, with real-time tracking programs, safer prescribing practices, and rapid response.  Reversing this epidemic will require programs in all 50 states.”

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Teva announces ‘Design for Dialogue’ pain management initiative

BY David Salazar

FRAZER, Pa. — Teva on Tuesday announced its latest initiative, Design for Dialogue, which it said seeks to foster communication about pain management between healthcare providers and patients living with pain. The program, which is featured on Teva’s PainMatters.com, asks individuals living with pain and providers to design the ideal experience in the exam room that would foster dialogue about prescription drug abuse, deterrent technology and the effect of pain.

“Effective communication is essential to achieving positive patient outcomes and experiences, and it provides the basis for establishing strong provider-patient relationships,” Laura Cooley, education director at the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare said. “Design for Dialogue sheds light on how the exam room environment, from the aesthetics to provider–patient interaction, can hinder communications, and offers practical resources to help foster a more open dialogue.”

Teva recently conducted a survey in partnership withte American Academy of Pain Management and the U.S. Pain Foundation, which found that both patients and providers know the importance of addressing the issue of prescription drug abuse, but admit that it can be an uncomfortable subject to broach. Design for Dialogue is asking for simple changes that could change that dynamic — wall color, lighting, furniture and flooring, as well as resources available in the exam room can all be chosen at PainMatters.com. The company is accepting feedback until Dec. 31

“We understand the need for innovative solutions to address some of the complex challenges facing pain care today, including the impact of pain and the risks of prescription drug abuse,” Teva CNS VP and general manager John Hassler said. “Design for Dialogue is another example of our commitment to the pain community to bring practical information and resources to healthcare professionals and people with pain to help advance responsible pain management.”

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Report: Fewer patients see cost as barrier to medical treatment

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the first three months of the year, only 1 in 20 Americans reported not getting the medical care they needed because they couldn't afford it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The 4.4% of people in this demographic represented the lowest percentage in 16 years, according to the National Health Interview Survey. The percentage surged to 7% in 2009 and 2010, but has been shrinking ever since. Click here to read more.

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