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FDA OKs new depression treatment for first time in decades—but it comes with a strong warning

March 6, 2019

FDA on Tuesday approved a nasal spray antidepressant derived from the anesthetic ketamine to treat adults with severe depression who do not respond to other treatments, but the agency included a boxed warning on the drug and has stipulated that it can only be administered in a health care facility.

The US is bad at treating chronic pain. Here are 5 ways researchers want to do better.

February 28, 2019

Chronic pain treatment is an ongoing challenge in the United States, but scientists are working on a variety of ways to improve how pain is measured and managed—without the help of opioids.

Purdue execs intentionally downplayed OxyContin's strength, Propublica reports after obtaining sealed testimony

February 22, 2019

Richard Sackler, a former executive at Purdue Pharmaceuticals, allegedly agreed to an internal plan to conceal OxyContin's strength from physicians, according to sealed testimony obtained by ProPublica—but Purdue in a statement claimed the testimony "supports that the company accurately disclosed the potency of OxyContin to health care providers."

FDA, drugmakers failed to act after program showed providers inappropriately prescribed fentanyl, study finds

February 20, 2019

FDA and drugmakers failed to take action when a federal program designed to ensure potent fentanyl painkillers are distributed and prescribed appropriately showed providers were inappropriately prescribing the drugs to patients who did not qualify for them, according to a new study.

Weekly Line: Opioids killed 47,500 people in 2017. But the death count is only the tip of the iceberg.

February 15, 2019

The United States opioid epidemic killed more than 47,500 people in 2017. 

In the states: California exchange officials call for a reinsurance program, Kentucky delays Medicaid work requirements, and more

February 8, 2019

American Health Line rounds up the latest health care news in the states.

Inside the Trump admin's first National Drug Control Strategy

February 5, 2019

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy on Thursday released its first National Drug Control Strategy under the Trump administration, which focuses on strategies to address the U.S. opioid misuse epidemic.

CMS wants to raise MA payments, expand benefits in 2020

January 31, 2019

CMS on Wednesday released an advance notice of proposed changes for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, which includes proposals to increase baseline payment rates for MA plans, lower cost-sharing requirements for some chronic pain treatments, and offer targeted benefits to improve the health of chronically ill beneficiaries.

Why this doctor works in a bathroom, a van, and the streets to combat drug overdoses

January 31, 2019

As the number of drug-related overdoses in public spaces continues to rise, physicians such as Jessie Gaeta are treating patients far outside the traditional exam room—including in bathrooms and on the streets.

Inside the first criminal trial alleging pharma execs played a role in the opioid epidemic

January 30, 2019

A federal prosecutor on Monday accused former Insys Therapeutics CEO John Kapoor and four of the company's other executives of contributing to the U.S. opioid epidemic by using illegal marketing tactics to drive up sales of the opioid drug Subsys—but Beth Wilkinson, a lawyer representing Kapoor, says the charges are "patently false."

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