Beginning Jan. 1, Florida’s largest health insurer, Florida Blue, will no longer cover OxyContin prescriptions in light of the growing opioid epidemic that is plaguing the U.S. The move comes just weeks after President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.
Opioids are powerful painkillers that give users a feeling of euphoria, and are highly addictive. More than 90 Americans die every day due to opioid overdose from misuse and abuse.
“Most physicians, most plans have had a hands-off approach for a number of years, and we see where we are now,” Scott McClelland, Florida Blue’s vice president of commercial and specialty pharmacy, told the Miami Herald. “We think it’s time for more people, including physicians in our community, the nurses, even the families to take a more proactive approach in trying to manage this epidemic.”
Instead of OxyContin, Florida Blue will cover Xtampza ER, an extended release version of the drug. Both Xtampza ER and OxyContin are indicated for the management of pain severe enough to require around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment for which alternative treatment options are inadequate. Both contain the active drug ingredient oxycodone. Xtampza, however, is formulated with an abuse-deterrent qualities making it more difficult to crush or melt down, for snorting or injecting.
Florida Blue isn’t the only health insurer to stop covering the cost of OxyContin. In October, Cigna, one of the country’s largest health insurers, said it would stop covering OxyContin on most plans, opting for Xtampza ER instead.
Source: Huffington Post