Tagged Articles

painkillers 25 articles

Feds Dismantle Opioid Distribution Center and Southern Pill Mills

Federal prosecutors said they have taken down the operators of a health care fraud and opioid trafficking and distribution operation that stretched from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Rome, Italy and contributed to the deaths of about 700 people. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said indictments were unsealed Jan. 4 charging two Italian citizens and five American citizens for their roles in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy and opioid drug trafficking conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone, oxymorphone, and morphine outside the scope of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purposes. The DOJ says that the defendants ran ... Read More

Medicaid Fraud targeted by Massachusetts to Fight Opioid Addiction

The State of Massachusetts is tackling Medicaid fraud and opioid addiction by warning doctors who provide treatment services through the state’s Medicaid program not to unlawfully charge patients struggling with addiction to opioid painkillers. Massachusetts law requires providers of opioid addiction treatment to accept payment from the state’s Medicaid program, MassHealth, as full payment for their services. The buprenorphine-based drugs Suboxone, Subutex, and Vivitrol are used to treat opioid addiction under the Medicaid program to suppress opioid withdrawal and cravings. According to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, the state has brought numerous criminal and civil enforcement actions against Medicaid providers that ... Read More

New boxed warnings added to prescription NSAIDs

The safety labels for prescription painkillers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been updated to include a new black box warning for risk of serious cardiovascular and gastrointestinal events. Boxed warnings are the most serious type of warning issued by the FDA and involve situations in which there is a significant risk of serious or even life-threatening adverse events. The boxed warnings state the following: Cardiovascular Thrombotic Events Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular thrombotic events, including myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke, which can be fatal. This risk may occur early in treatment ... Read More

Painkillers, antidepressants associated with greater risk of committing homicide

Medications such as painkillers and antidepressants can increase a person’s risk of committing homicide and other violent behaviors by 200 percent, according to a new study. The study, conducted by European psychiatrists and published in the journal World Psychology, involved 960 homicide convicts in Finland. Each member was matched with 10 people of the same age and gender from the same town but who had not committed homicide. Researchers then reviewed a national drug registry to see who in the study had taken psychiatric drugs, painkillers, anti-seizure medications, and drugs to control addictions over the previous seven years. Then they ... Read More

DEA introduces new drug take-back program to combat prescription drug abuse

A new Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rule aims to combat a growing epidemic of prescription drug addiction and abuse by authorizing pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and others to serve as drop-off sites for unused prescription medications. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the new regulation will help save lives and protect families from the dangers of prescription drug misuse. In 2011, unintentional prescription drug overdoses accounted for more than half of the 41,300 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Prescription opioids, which are increasingly prescribed for pain relief, are particularly addictive and likely to be abused. Opioid pain killer overdose caused ... Read More

City of Chicago files lawsuit accusing drug companies of deceptively marketing addictive painkillers

In the latest battle against prescription drug abuse, the City of Chicago has filed a lawsuit against five drug companies alleging they engaged in deceptive marketing practices for their highly addictive painkillers to reel in extra profit. The lawsuit, filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court, claims the pharmaceutical companies pushed long-term use of their powerful opioids to treat non-cancer pain, which was false, misleading and “unsupported by science.” The lawsuit comes just one month after two California counties filed a similar lawsuit against the same five drug companies – Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma, Actavis, Endo ... Read More

Five new black box warnings added to long-acting, extended-release opioid painkillers

Five new black box warnings are being added to the safety labels of extended-release and long-acting opioid painkillers, warning that the drugs are addictive, can cause life-threatening problems, and are easily abused and misused, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced. Opioids are a potent class of painkillers that also give patients a feeling of euphoria, making them choice recreational drugs. The following brand-name drugs and their generic counterparts have updated labels reflecting the new warnings: Avinza (morphine sulfate) Extended-Release Capsules,
 Butrans (buprenorphine) Transdermal System, 
Dolophine (methadone hydrochloride) Tablets,
 Duragesic (fentanyl transdermal system), 
Embeda (morphine sulfate and naltrexone hydrochloride) Extended-Release ... Read More

Federal grand jury investigating reports of fraud and abuse at Millennium drug-testing company

A federal grand jury in Boston is investigating allegations of health care fraud and employee intimidation against Millennium Laboratories of San Diego, Calif., a company that tests urine samples for the presence of pain medications. Millennium is one of a few companies in a relatively new industry of selling urine-testing services to pain clinics and doctors throughout the U.S. A growing number of health care providers rely on such services to test patients for painkillers before prescribing new drugs that can have potentially harmful interactions with painkillers the patient may already be taking. The services help health care providers monitor ... Read More

FDA proposes stricter guidelines for widely prescribed painkiller hydrocodone

Proposed new guidelines for painkillers aims to put drugs containing hydrocodone, such as Lortab and Vicodin, in the same category as potent opioids like Oxycontin and morphine. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendation for the highly addictive class of painkillers must first be approved by other Health and Human Service Department officials before it can go into effect. The major policy change comes more than a decade after the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) first asked that hydrocodone-containing drugs be more restricted. Hydrocodone drugs are the most widely prescribed medications in the country, with more than 131 million prescriptions written ... Read More

Prescription drug deaths rise for 11th consecutive year

The number of prescription drug-induced deaths rose for the 11th straight year, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis. Most of the drug deaths were accidents involving potent painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin. “This is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. Prescription drug deaths continue to rise despite efforts to raise awareness of the risks among doctors and patients. The CDC reported a total of 38,329 drug-overdose fatalities nationwide in 2010. Nearly 60 percent of those deaths involved medicines, most of them prescription drugs. In 2009, the ... Read More