FEATURED ARTICLES
BUSINESS
August 6, 2016 | By Linda Loyd, Staff Writer
SILVER SPRING, Md. - U.S. advisers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recommend approval of a Wayne company's opioid prescription painkiller formulated to make it harder to tamper with to get a quick high. Arymo ER, a pill made by Egalet Corp., is one of more than a dozen abuse-deterrent formulations being developed by companies for oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, which is now a top priority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Shares of Egalet rose 8 percent on the news to close at $7.62.
NEWS
July 1, 2016
ISSUE | DRUG ABUSE Pa. must tackle opioid crisis The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Gov. Wolf agreed last week to call a special session of the General Assembly to work on the opioid addiction crisis. The Pennsylvania Medical Society applauds this bipartisan effort. Special sessions are used only for the most troubling issues. Opioid abuse and addiction is one of the most troubling issues facing our state. Pennsylvania ranks number one in the country for overdose deaths of males ages 12 to 24. Let's turn that around and become the best state in the country in addressing this crisis.
BUSINESS
January 16, 2016 | By David Sell, STAFF WRITER
Adapt Pharma, which is based in Ireland but operates in the United States from Radnor, said Thursday it struck a deal with the U.S. Communities Purchasing Alliance to provide its Narcan nasal spray at a discounted price to public agencies which respond to emergency opioid overdoses. The alliance, which is a nonprofit local, state and federal government purchasing cooperative, will get the nasal spray at $37.50 per dose. Adapt said in a statement that the "Public Interest Price" is available to 62,000 public agencies and "qualifying group purchasers," such as law enforcement, fire fighters, first responders, departments of health, local school districts, colleges and universities, and community-based organizations.
NEWS
July 3, 2013 | By David Sell, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Middle-aged women are dying from overdoses of prescription opioid painkillers at "skyrocketing" rates, more than five times as often in 2010 as they were in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. "Mothers, sisters and daughters are dying from prescription drug overdoses more than we've ever seen," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a conference call with reporters. The CDC previously reported that deaths from overdoses of prescription opioid painkillers had exceeded those of cocaine and heroin combined.
NEWS
May 29, 2016 | By Paul Jablow, For The Inquirer
The dentist and the ex-cop first met about five years ago at a pain management seminar at Tufts University. "He asked me what I was doing there," recalls Carlos Aquino, who spent 23 years on the Philadelphia police force before retiring in 1995 as a sergeant specializing in narcotics investigations. "When I told him, he understood. " Elliot Hersh, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania dental school who specializes in pharmacology, understood so well that he soon had Aquino lecturing his students on the dangers of overprescribing painkillers, including opioids such as Percocet and Vicodin.
NEWS
July 25, 2016
A research letter published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry found that Medicare beneficiaries had the highest and most rapidly growing rate of "opioid use disorder. " Six of every 1,000 recipients struggle with the condition, compared with one out of every 1,000 patients covered through commercial insurance plans. The letter also concluded that Medicare beneficiaries may face a treatment gap. In 2013, doctors prescribed a high number of opioid prescription painkillers for this population, but far fewer prescriptions for buprenorphine- naloxone, the only effective drug therapy for opioid use disorder covered by Medicare Part D. More than 300,000 Medicare recipients battle with opioid use disorder, according to the study.
NEWS
April 1, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Giving former inmates with histories of addiction monthly injections of a medication that blocks the effects of opioids cuts relapse rates by a third, according to research at five medical centers. Release from prison is among the riskiest times for former addicts, with the loss in physical tolerance and behavioral control so common that often "they relapse the same day," said Charles P. O'Brien, senior author of the study and founding director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Studies of Addiction.
BUSINESS
March 2, 2016 | By Linda Loyd, STAFF WRITER
Egalet Corporation, Wayne, said Monday the Food and Drug Administration has accepted its new drug application for an extended release version of morphine. The company hopes the drug will be approved as early as mid-October. Egalet's technology aims to make prescription pain medications less prone to abuse, through a high-pressure molding process of the tablets similar to what is used in plastics. Traditional opioid pain killers, such as morphine and OxyContin, can be abused by crushing to snort, or dissolving to inject.
NEWS
November 11, 2013 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
It's a common scenario. A barely-used bottle of Vicodin, prescribed for your teenage son when his wisdom teeth were extracted, sits in your medicine cabinet for months - until your son's friend finds and steals it. Abuse and diversion of opioid painkillers have become a public health crisis, experts agree. The number of overdose deaths has risen relentlessly from 4,000 in 1999 to nearly 17,000 in 2010 - more than 100,000 people in a decade, federal figures show. That's why, after anguished debate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month recommended making it harder for people to get refills of products like Vicodin.
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NEWS
September 8, 2016 | $util.encode.html($!item.byline), $util.encode.html($!item.bycredit)
Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself. - Dr. Albert Schweitzer, 1931 . By Wade Berrettini Two wonderfully talented artists, Prince and Philip Seymour Hoffman, died in the recent past of opioid overdoses. Opioids are medications (Oxycontin, Vicodin, Dilaudid, Fentanyl, morphine) that relieve severe pain and produce a highly addictive powerful feeling of well-being (euphoria). About 20 years ago, physician prescribing habits for opioids started to become more liberal, from studies indicating that more aggressive treatment of persistent pain was needed.
NEWS
August 28, 2016
Courtenay Harris Bond, journalist in residence, Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics of Behavioral Health Care at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, wrote this for "The Public's Health" blog at philly.com/publichealth. You've heard the statistics: A record 28,000 Americans fatally overdosed on opioids - prescription pain relievers or heroin - nationwide in 2014. The next year, overdose deaths involving all drugs rose 23 percent in Pennsylvania. The National Institutes of Health has concluded that "drastic increases in the number of prescriptions written and dispensed, greater social acceptability for using medications for different purposes, and aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies" are contributing to the epidemic in opioid-related deaths.
NEWS
August 23, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Pennsylvania this week is at last going to launch what is frequently described as one of the most effective public policy tools to rein in out-of-control opioid overdose rates. Starting Thursday, the statewide prescription database will allow medical providers to check for evidence that their patients may be abusing or selling drugs - getting the same oxycodone scripts from multiple doctors and filling them at different pharmacies, for example. The benefit of knowing is so obvious that 48 other states already have databases accessible to health practitioners.
NEWS
August 14, 2016 | By Stacey Burling, Staff Writer
In a drab meeting room in West Philadelphia, a group of aging veterans with chronic back pain gathered for a dose of what their teacher called "breath as medicine. " Psychologist Lisa Rambaldo led the mostly male group through a series of gentle yoga positions that improve balance and strengthen muscles that support the spine, along with breathing exercises that free the mind. While they lay on the floor hugging their knees to their chests, she told them to notice any tension.
NEWS
August 7, 2016 | By Sam Wood, Staff Writer
Gov. Wolf came to Philadelphia on Friday to tout a $20 million state program to coordinate treatment for people addicted to opioids. "This is a disease we need to get our arms around," Wolf said at Thomas Jefferson University. "We're losing people every day. " Wolf said 2,500 deaths in Pennsylvania were attributed to opioid overdoses last year, more than twice the 1,200 killed in traffic accidents. The funding, though modestly spread across the state, is a good start, he said.
BUSINESS
August 6, 2016 | By Linda Loyd, Staff Writer
SILVER SPRING, Md. - U.S. advisers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recommend approval of a Wayne company's opioid prescription painkiller formulated to make it harder to tamper with to get a quick high. Arymo ER, a pill made by Egalet Corp., is one of more than a dozen abuse-deterrent formulations being developed by companies for oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, which is now a top priority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Shares of Egalet rose 8 percent on the news to close at $7.62.
NEWS
July 25, 2016
A research letter published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry found that Medicare beneficiaries had the highest and most rapidly growing rate of "opioid use disorder. " Six of every 1,000 recipients struggle with the condition, compared with one out of every 1,000 patients covered through commercial insurance plans. The letter also concluded that Medicare beneficiaries may face a treatment gap. In 2013, doctors prescribed a high number of opioid prescription painkillers for this population, but far fewer prescriptions for buprenorphine- naloxone, the only effective drug therapy for opioid use disorder covered by Medicare Part D. More than 300,000 Medicare recipients battle with opioid use disorder, according to the study.
NEWS
July 16, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Pennsylvania will open 20 centers around the state by fall to coordinate care for people addicted to opioids, the Wolf administration announced Thursday. The centers - six of them in Southeastern Pennsylvania - will not be new locations, but instead are existing organizations that will function as navigational hubs to coordinate a range of services for Medicaid patients. By integrating treatment for substance abuse, mental health, and physical health, their mission is to help ensure patients get all the types of care proven to promote recovery.
NEWS
July 14, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania jumped more than 23 percent last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported Tuesday, by far the biggest increase in at least a decade and a sign that the addiction epidemic remains out of control. An analysis of drug-related fatalities by the DEA's Philadelphia Field Division found a 5 percent rise in deaths involving heroin, along with an astonishing increase - up 93 percent in one year - in the presence of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the bodies of people who died of overdoses.
NEWS
July 12, 2016 | By Don Sapatkin, Staff Writer
Doctors have long complained about patients demanding inappropriate treatment, especially addictive opioid painkillers. Many say they feel forced to comply for fear they will be rated poorly by patients on the internet or even more official surveys. Now the Obama administration, acknowledging the potential power of bad reviews, is proposing to remove pain management from a patient satisfaction survey that is mailed to hundreds of thousands of people after they are released from the hospital.
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