Congress Is About To Consider 57 Bills On Opioid Crisis. But Will The Measures Do Anything To Curb The Epidemic?
Even as lawmakers gear up to consider a sweeping package of opioid bills, some experts are doubtful the legislation will do enough to address the crisis. However, the bipartisan support for the measures speaks to the fact that lawmakers know it's a winning topic for the upcoming midterms. Meanwhile, NIH has laid out its $500 million plan to combat the epidemic.
Can Major Opioids Legislation Make A Dent In A National Epidemic?
By the end of next week, the House will have considered more than 50 bills aimed at staunching the opioid crisis. The volume “may well be a record for legislating on a single issue,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Tuesday on the House floor. The House’s work touches on most aspects of the crisis, aiming to better monitor opioid prescriptions, increase treatment funding, improve drug enforcement efforts, and provide additional support to families affected by the epidemic. But does quantity equal quality? (Facher, 6/13)
NIH Outlines Plans For $500M To Combat Opioid Epidemic
Leaders of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Tuesday published an outline of how the nation’s medical research agency plans to spend the $500 million Congress gave it to fight the opioid epidemic. Specifically, the NIH will focus on improving treatments for opioid misuse and addiction and bolster strategies to manage pain, heads of the NIH wrote in an opinion piece published in the American Medical Association's JAMA. (Roubein, 6/12)
How America Got Hooked On A Deadly Drug
Purdue Pharma left almost nothing to chance in its whirlwind marketing of its new painkiller OxyContin. From 1996 to 2002, Purdue pursued nearly every avenue in the drug supply and prescription sales chain — a strategy now cast as reckless and illegal in more than 1,500 federal civil lawsuits from communities in Florida to Wisconsin to California that allege the drug has fueled a national epidemic of addiction. (Schulte, 6/13)
And in other national health care news —
The Associated Press:
Frustrated AMA Adopts Sweeping Policies To Cut Gun Violence
With frustration mounting over lawmakers' inaction on gun control, the American Medical Association on Tuesday pressed for a ban on assault weapons and came out against arming teachers as a way to fight what it calls a public health crisis. At its annual policymaking meeting, the nation's largest physicians group bowed to unprecedented demands from doctor-members to take a stronger stand on gun violence — a problem the organizations says is as menacing as a lethal infectious disease. (6/12)
The New York Times:
A Crispr Conundrum: How Cells Fend Off Gene Editing
Human cells resist gene editing by turning on defenses against cancer, ceasing reproduction and sometimes dying, two teams of scientists have found. The findings, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, at first appeared to cast doubt on the viability of the most widely used form of gene editing, known as Crispr-Cas9 or simply Crispr, sending the stocks of some biotech companies into decline on Monday. (Zimmer, 6/12)
The Washington Post:
Kids In These U.S. Hot Spots At Higher Risk Because Parents Opt Out Of Vaccinations
Public health officials have long known that the United States has pockets of vulnerability where the risk of measles and other vaccine-preventable childhood diseases is higher because parents hesitate or refuse to get their children immunized. Eighteen states allow parents to opt their children out of school immunization requirements for nonmedical reasons, with exemptions for religious or philosophical beliefs. And in two-thirds of those states, a comprehensive new analysis finds a rising number of kindergartners who have not been vaccinated. (Sun, 6/12)