Jun 6, 2019 - Health

Opioid prescriptions are declining

Data: IQVIA; Table: Axios Visuals

Opioid prescriptions are down, naloxone prescriptions are up and doctors are increasingly using state prescription drug monitoring programs, according to the American Medical Association's 2019 Opioid Task Force Progress Report.

By the numbers: Queries made to state PDMPs increased by about 650% between 2014 and 2018. That means doctors are checking patients' prescription history before giving them more opioids.

  • Prescriptions for naloxone — the opioid overdose reversal drug — increased by about 340% between 2016 and 2018.

Yes, but: While the medical community has become deeply engaged in combating the epidemic, illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl have replaced prescription opioids as the main cause of opioid deaths.

Go deeper: Pharma's bad behavior is causing its own problems

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Electronic health record vendor took kickbacks from opioid maker

A fictitious electronic medical record. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Electronic health record company Practice Fusion will pay $145 million after federal prosectors said the vendor accepted $1 million in kickbacks from an unnamed opioid manufacturer, and in return, Practice Fusion engineered its software to encourage more prescriptions of that company's opioids.

Why it matters: Several Practice Fusion executives not only booked the kickbacks as revenue, but also agreed to help peddle more of the company's painkillers during the height of the country's opioid epidemic that has killed tens of thousands of people.

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Keep ReadingArrowJan 28, 2020

Large gaps in opioid treatment remain for rural areas

Areas hit hardest by the opioid epidemic still struggle with access to buprenorphine, used to treat addiction according to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services' internal watchdog.

Where it stands: The federal government has expanded the list of which providers can prescribe buprenorphine, as well as the number of patients those providers can treat.

Go deeperArrowFeb 4, 2020 - Health

AmerisourceBergen CEO earned $14.7 million in company stock gains in 2019

Steven Collis, CEO of drug distributor AmerisourceBergen, made $14.7 million in his company's 2019 fiscal year based on the actual realized gains on his stock, according to new company disclosures.

The big picture: That amount was down from the $18.7 million Collis earned in 2018.

Go deeperArrowJan 27, 2020