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Big Tech's next steps on opioids

A bottle of oxycodone
Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Tech companies are launching a new partnership today aimed at better coordinating their respective efforts to help fight the opioid crisis.

The big picture: Federal regulators had criticized tech platforms over a proliferation of ads for illegal pharmacies. But the companies have done a lot to rein in those ads and to redirect users toward information about treatment when, for example, they search Google or Facebook for opioid-related terms.

  • This isn’t really a crisis Silicon Valley can solve — addiction is an offline experience.
  • But the industry believes it can help by pointing people toward treatment options and other partnerships, like a joint effort with the Drug Enforcement Administration to promote opportunities for patients to turn in unused or expired medications.

Situational awareness: These companies will be discussing their efforts at an event today (part of which I'll be moderating), beginning at 10 a.m. You can watch here, if you want to.

Separately, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is expected to fill out some more details today about the agency’s new guidelines for prescribing opioids.

  • The agency will focus on the relationship between dosage and addiction, my colleague Caitlin Owens reports.

What’s next: The agency has discussed requiring some common opioids to be offered in limited-dose packaging, more similar to the packaging for a course of antibiotics than a standard 30-day supply of pills.

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