Mandatory controlled substance e-prescribing bill winds its way through Congress
A recently introduced bill from Reps. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., and Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., has garnered interest from longtime proponents of e-prescribing in the retail pharmacy industry. The Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act would require all controlled substances to be electronically prescribed.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores was quick to praise the legislation. “[This] is an important step in combatting the abuse and diversion of prescription opioid medications,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson wrote to the bill’s co-sponsors. “Electronic prescribing of controlled substances adds new dimensions of safety and security.”
In addition to its advocacy for e-prescribing, NACDS previously partnered with the National Community Pharmacy Association, helped create the health information network that merged with RxHub and now operates as Surescripts. In 2016, Surescripts said that it saw increased adoption of controlled substance e-prescribing, delivering 45.3 million scripts for controlled substances in 2016 — a 256% increase over the previous year.
FDA approves Perrigo’s Exalgo extended-release generic
SILVER SPRING, Md. — Perrigo is adding to its portfolio of opioid generics. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the company’s generic of Exalgo (hydromorphone HCL, 32 mg) extended-release tablets.
The drug is an opioid indicated to manage moderate to severe pain in patients requiring continuous around-the-clock pain opioid analgesia for an extended period of time. Perrigo said it planned to make the generic available by the end of September.
The drug had brand and generic sales of $35 million for the 12 months ended July 2017, the company said.
Bringing big data to bear on the opioid crisis
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project that more than 1,000 people are treated everyday as a result of prescription opioid misuse, and the New York Times reports that drug overdose becomes the leading cause of death of Americans younger than 50 years of age, research from CVS Health Research Institute and Johns Hopkins University is looking at how algorithms can be used to help identify signs of patients misusing and abusing opioids.
The study looked at 15 algorithms that use e-prescriptions and/or medical claims to assess and track habits associated with patients who are pharmacy or doctor shopping, or those who seek prescriptions that aren’t medically necessary. The results, published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics, concluded that using these algorithms can help single out both patients and providers that require additional screening or pharmacy-based interventions for further evaluation of prescription drug misuse.
“As healthcare payers seek to both improve patients’ health and minimize fraud and waste, these data-driven approaches are applicable and beneficial to real-world, population-level surveillance. [They are] critical to targeting patient outreach and intervention, as well as minimizing provider fraud,” said Dr. Troyen Brennan, CVS Health chief medical officer and co-author of the study.