Drugmaker Donated Anti-Overdose Injectors To Police In PR Windfall. The Problem: They Were Set To Expire.
Police departments are left throwing away the auto-injectors because they couldn't use them fast enough. “You might as well begin filling out the paperwork [right away] to get them replaced," said Sgt. Robert Parsons. In other news on the national addiction epidemic: the White House drug office, opioid bills in Congress, first responders, and more.
Drug Maker's Donations Of Overdose Antidote Were Close To Expiring
But STAT found that the auto-injectors donated to some police agencies through the Kaleo Cares program were just months away from expiration. One police department in Massachusetts threw away scores of expired injectors because it couldn’t use them fast enough. An agency in a medium-sized North Carolina city donated expired product to a local nonprofit willing to accept them. In interviews with officers at more than a dozen law enforcement agencies, nine said they had received naloxone anywhere from four to 11 months away from expiration. Fresh off the production line, naloxone typically has a shelf life of two years. Kaleo, for its part, says patients prescribed Evzio can expect to receive auto-injectors with a shelf life of over a year. (Blau, 6/18)
Exactly Who Is Coordinating The White House Drug Policy?
For at least six months, staffers in the Office of National Drug Control Policy — often political appointees in their 20s — have crossed 17th Street, entered the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and sat through weekly meetings of an “opioids cabinet” chaired by Kellyanne Conway. Then they have returned to their desks and reported back to veteran career staff — who have listened, often with disappointment, to the ideas proposed by Conway and Katy Talento, a domestic policy adviser. (Facher, 6/18)
Congress Tackles Mounting Opioid Epidemic
House Republicans are beefing up their efforts to tackle the nation's deadly opioid crisis, but some experts question how effective their piecemeal approach will be. Congress is touting its recent flurry of action — the House is on track to pass more than 50 bills addressing the issue by the end of this week — on an issue that is hitting many constituents hard, and one that lawmakers are sure to hear about on the campaign trail this year. (Zanona and Roubein, 6/17)
House Spars Before Passing Controlled Substances Bill
Lawmakers on Friday argued over a controversial drug bill before passing it, 239-142, as the House closed out the first of two weeks dedicated to opioid legislation. The legislation (HR 2851) by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., would create a new class on the controlled substances schedule for compounds related to the synthetic drug fentanyl. It would also speed up the process by which a drug can be temporarily or permanently added to this schedule. The legislation also includes penalties for distributing or trafficking these drugs. (Raman, 6/15)
CDC: First Responders' Fears Of Touching Fentanyl Perhaps Overblown
The CDC says that skin contact with fentanyl can be a risk, but that fentanyl “is not likely to lead to overdose unless large volumes of highly concentrated powder are encountered over an extended period of time. Brief skin contact with fentanyl or its analogues is not expected to lead to toxic effects if any visible contamination is promptly removed.” (Daugherty, 6/16)
McKesson Reduces CEO's Pay 10% Following Revolt By Investors
McKesson Corp. cut Chief Executive Officer John Hammergren’s pay by about 10 percent following a shareholder revolt spurred by claims about the health-care firm’s alleged role in the nation’s opioid crisis. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters led a vote-no campaign in 2017 against the firm’s executive pay plan after accusing the drug distributor of aggravating the opioid epidemic. Last year’s pay package received 26.6 percent support, the second-lowest to date and among the worst of S&P 500 companies. (Ritcey, 6/15)
States Weigh Weed As An Opioid Alternative
A painkiller prescription could become a ticket for medical marijuana in Illinois. Lawmakers there passed a bill making anyone with a prescription for opioids eligible for its medical cannabis program. With this move, Illinois joins a growing number of states turning to legal cannabis in the fight against painkiller addiction. (Herman, 6/15)
The Associated Press:
Overdose Death Toll Declines In County Hit Hard By Opioids
A hard-hit Ohio county that expanded availability of naloxone during the opioid epidemic has been seeing a decline in its overdose death toll. Hamilton County's program of increasing overdose antidote availability and quick response to requests for addiction treatment started last fall, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Public health officials increased distribution of the overdose-reversing Narcan nasal spray by 375 percent over a seven-month period. (6/17)