A tax to stop opioid abuse?

Sep 07, 2017
opioid tax

This year several states - including Massachusetts - have considered a tax on opioid-based prescription painkiller sales.

The proposals vary from state to state, but can involve taxing some combination of manufacturers, producers, importers, and distributors. The taxes can be based on gross receipts, the number of pills, or the amount of addicting substances in the drugs. Some proposals have exceptions for opioids used for hospice and cancer patients.

All of the proposals send the tax revenue to opioid addiction treatment or prevention.

Prescription monitoring for veterinarians?

Aug 25, 2017
veterinarians and the prescription drug monitoring program

New Hampshire, like most states, has a prescription drug monitoring database, which tracks the history of prescriptions for drugs with a greater risk for addiction and abuse, such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

Starting in 2016, all healthcare professionals in the state were required to check the database before writing a prescription for one of the painkillers it covers. That included health care professionals whose patients are furry and four-legged.

NH sues over OxyContin marketing

Aug 10, 2017
oxycontin

The New Hampshire Attorney General is suing the manufacturer of OxyContin for deceptive marketing.

According to the court filing, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, violated New Hampshire law by:

Number of uninsured drops, mixed results on costs

Dec 28, 2016

According to an annual report from the Insurance Department, the number of uninsured individuals in New Hampshire decreased from 9% in 2014 to 6% in 2015.

Most New Hampshire residents – 57% – got health insurance through an employer in 2015.  25% used Medicaid and/or Medicare.  The remainder purchased insurance individually, sometimes with government subsidies, or had other coverage, such as the military insurance Tricare.

Opioid prescriptions down, but still high

Nov 30, 2016

According to the annual report from New Hampshire’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), the number of highly addictive opioid prescriptions decreased by roughly 10% from 2015 to 2016. 

This was true even though the number of doctors using the PDMP increased.

The PDMP is a database that requires doctors to record addictive prescriptions.  The database then shows if a patient is seeking prescriptions in multiple locations, or “doctor shopping.”

Should NH Att. Gen. join Suboxone lawsuit?

Oct 24, 2016

Thirty-five states, including Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, are suing drug manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser (Invidior) for deliberately trying to prevent or delay the release of generic medications that would compete with their drug Suboxone. 

Suboxone is a prescription drug that can reduce cravings for opioids. It is used to treat opioid addiction.

Should NH mandate that the state pay VA drug prices?

Aug 03, 2016

The California Drug Price Relief Act will appear on the state's November 2016 ballot. The act mandates that any programs for which California serves as the ultimate payer - believed to include prison healthcare, Medicaid, state employee and retiree healthcare plans - pay no more for prescription drugs than the prices paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA is largely believed to pay the lowest negotiated prices for drugs in the U.S.

There is no similar move underway in New Hampshire.

Vermont will require drug companies to justify large price increases

Jun 08, 2016

On June 3 Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill that requires pharmaceutical companies to justify drug price increases.

The bill requires state health care regulators to identify fifteen drugs with the highest price increases each year. Manufacturers of those fifteen drugs must provide the state Attorney General with a justification for each price increase, which the state will publish online.

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