Still, some say the legislation is not enough to make the large-scale changes needed to fight the epidemic.
Addiction advocates largely praise the measures as good steps forward, but say that much more work and funding is needed to tackle the issue’s scale…
The legislation, passed Friday, includes a range of measures to fight the epidemic, including lifting some limits on prescribing Buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid addiction. The bill also requires health-care professionals to write prescriptions for Medicare beneficiaries electronically in order to better track prescriptions and to allow Medicare to cover treatment at addiction treatment clinics.
The measure’s passage comes days after the House passed additional bills aimed at combatting opioid addiction, some of which included lifting certain limits on Medicaid’s contribution for opioid care at treatment facilities and cracking down on imports of illicit opioids into the United States via mail.” (A)
‘For years, we got the scraps. And now we’re the big time,’ says an anti-addiction consultant.
The House is touting passage of dozens of bills that could help combat the national opioid crisis — but a small handful of companies that have spent millions lobbying Congress could reap a windfall if any of the bills become law.
In a two-week legislative blitz, the House cleared several narrowly tailored measures that would spur sales for companies that have ramped up their influence game in Washington, according to a review of the more than five dozen bills up for votes.
Those poised to benefit include:
• Alkermes, which spent $1 million lobbying in part to support a bill to fund full-service centers where people can detox, receive medical care and start treatment — a setup that could boost the fortunes of its best-selling product, anti-addiction treatment Vivitrol, which has been held back by the need for patients to fully detox before taking the drug.
• Indivior, an Alkermes rival that spent $180,000 largely in support of a bill that eases restrictions on certain controlled substances used in injectable anti-opioid treatments — a change that would make it easier for doctors to buy Indivior’s once-a-month injectable Sublocade.
• Pennsylvania drugmaker Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, which spent $100,000 lobbying and backed the same bill because it is developing a competing injectable.
• A group of drugmakers that produce non-opioid pain relief medications, including California-based Heron Therapeutics, which spent hundreds of thousands to lobby for legislative changes to create an additional Medicare payment for non-opioid pain drugs…
“When you hear they’re investing $3 billion in this in 2018 and $3 billion in 2019, everyone’s ears are going to perk up,” said Andrew Kessler, the founder of behavioral health consulting firm Slingshot Solutions. “For years, we got the scraps. And now we’re the big time.” (B)
(A) House passes bipartisan bill to fight opioid crisis, by Peter Sullivan and Juliegrace Brufke, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/22/house-opioid-bills-lobbying-637695
(B) Opioid bills could net millions for companies, by ADAM CANCRYN, https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/22/house-opioid-bills-lobbying-637695