The Weekly Roundup

March 24, 2017 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

Wilson M. Compton, M.D., Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, presented research this week on the fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. According to Compton, “Recent research has also found a significant increase in mid-life mortality in the United States, particularly among white Americans with less education. Increasing death rates from drug and alcohol poisonings are believed to have played a significant role in this change.”

Meanwhile, the healthcare community as a whole continues to gnash its teeth over the constant stream of bad news about opioid abuse. Some states are working to pass health directive-like legislation that enables patients to note their refusal of opioid-based pain relief in circumstances when the patient cannot speak for themselves. The voluntary movement of making the directive a formal part of a patient’s medical records, proponents say, may prevent opioid administration by a provider who is unfamiliar with the patient’s history—and could help to curb relapse. But, then there’s this: a new documentary, The Painful Truth, was funded by a documentarian who is undergoing criticism for his substantial and undisclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, and who is accused of depicting the opioid crisis as “overblown.”

Here are few other stories that might be of interest:

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How Terry Bradshaw helped make me an additional $15 per prescription

February 02, 2015 | Tim Gallagher

So…Terry Bradshaw reminded me to get my shingles shot this year. Thanks, Terry. Not getting shingles will be great, but I stumbled on to something more immediate—and maybe more important—than that.

When I got my shot, I looked at the receipt.The drug costs our store somewhere around $175. We were reimbursed $184. Nine bucks on a $184 prescription. I remember saying to myself: "you gotta be kidding me!"

I followed up with the pharmacist a couple times on the billing. He assured me he was doing it correctly. It must have gotten him thinking, though, because he called me back a few days later and said: "you know what? I didn't bill it right! I didn't bill for the administration fee. When I did, we got another $15." For any pharmacy, the difference between making $9 or $24 on a single prescription is a pretty big deal. It turns out that some of our staff were making the same mistake on billing for flu shots.

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