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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The Weekly Roundup

February 24, 2017 | Pamela Youngberg Dickson

Spending on Specialty drugs has nearly doubled in the past five years and has contributed to massive overall medicine spending growth. This week, Drug Channels’ Adam Fein released his analysis of the 2016 Specialty pharmacy estimates naming the largest players in the $115 billion-dollar market. He deftly points out one of the challenges felt by many independents who want to grow their own Specialty practices: many PBMs limit the ability of an independent to compete by requiring patients to use the pharmacies that the PBMs own, concentrating most of the business year-after-year with two players—ExpressScripts and CVS Health. Still, there is opportunity in Specialty, and it may well be a good way to diversify. Our own Sterling Specialty president, Tim Gallagher, had the opportunity to talk about pharmacy’s foray into the Specialty field, and spoke to a group of interested pharmacists at the NCPA Specialty Conference in New Orleans last October. Here’s the transcript, if you missed it. 

Here are few other stories that might be of interest:

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