California Steps Up To Respond To The Opioid Addiction Epidemic
Saturday, September 26, 2015, marks the tenth annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, led by the US Drug Enforcement Administration and participating local law enforcement organizations across the country. While prescription medications play an important role in the health of millions of Americans, this event recognizes that unused drugs pose a health risk to people who take them without a prescription and pose an environmental risk when they are disposed of improperly. This Saturday, Americans are urged to bring unwanted medications to a free and anonymous collection site in their community. Efforts like Take-Bac...
Source: Health Affairs Blog - September 24, 2015 Category: Health Management Authors: Kelly Pfeifer Tags: Drugs and Medical Technology GrantWatch Health Professionals Hospitals Public Health California California HealthCare Foundation Health Philanthropy Opioid Addiction Substance Use Prevention Source Type: blogs

Stemming The Tide Of Prescription Opioid Overuse, Misuse, And Abuse
This article describes how Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans, is working to reduce opioid abuse among its more than 10 million members, and offers insight for the health care system as a whole. How We Got Here Beginning in the late 1990s, patient advocacy organizations began asking the medical community whether pain was being under-treated. In 1999, the Veterans Health Administration launched the “Pain as the 5th Vital Sign” initiative, urging doctors to assess pain at every visit. Soon, other major health care accreditation and regulatory authorities, such as the Joint Commi...
Source: Health Affairs Blog - September 22, 2015 Category: Health Management Authors: Samantha DuPont, Athan Bezaitis and Murray Ross Tags: Drugs and Medical Technology Health Professionals Hospitals Innovations in Care Delivery Organization and Delivery Population Health Public Health addiction chronic pain Kaiser Permanente oxycodones Substance Abuse Source Type: blogs

Quest Diagnostics Pay $1.79 Million To Settle False Claims Act Allegations
  Last week, the Justice Department announced that Quest Diagnostics Inc. and Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories Inc. agreed to pay the United States $1.79 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act. Quest operates medical labs where people go for blood tests and other procedures, including about 20 labs in the Sacramento area, where the settlement was announced. The settlement resolves allegations that Quest Diagnostics submitted duplicative claims to Medicare for certain venipuncture services, diagnostic tests, and certain panel tests and select components of those panels. The U.S. al...
Source: Policy and Medicine - September 2, 2015 Category: American Health Authors: Thomas Sullivan Source Type: blogs

Narrative Matters: On Our Reading List
Editor’s Note: “Narrative Matters: On Our Reading List” is a monthly roundup where we share some of the most compelling health care narratives driving the news and conversation in recent weeks. The Egg Taboo Even with advancements in nearly every aspect of fertility and conception, there still remains a taboo around women using donor eggs to conceive, writes Amy Klein in her personal essay for Aeon, “Is That My Baby?” Klein had detailed her own journey with infertility on The New York Times’ Motherlode blog; now, using anonymous donor eggs, she was finally able to carry a pregnancy to term. Klein notes that egg...
Source: Health Affairs Blog - August 31, 2015 Category: Health Management Authors: Rebecca Gale Tags: Drugs and Medical Technology Equity and Disparities Health Professionals Narrative Matters Population Health Quality addiction breastfeeding fertility heroin Nurses On Our Reading List prescriptions Source Type: blogs

New Report Looks At Intersection of "Medical Lending" and Pelvic Mesh Lawsuits
A recent article in Reuters shed an interesting and potentially disturbing light on the “medical lending” industry, which operates in some cases by funding surgeries for patients involved in litigation over allegedly defective medical devices. The article focused on pelvic mesh lawsuits against device companies—one of the biggest sources of personal injury litigation in the country. Financers here will “invest” in operations to remove implants from women suing the device makers, and “reap an inflated share of the payouts when cases settle,” according to the report. The way this works, in short, is that medica...
Source: Policy and Medicine - August 26, 2015 Category: American Health Authors: Thomas Sullivan Source Type: blogs

Purdue Pharma Settles With New York AG Over Oxycontin Promotion; Agrees To Long List of Requirements To Ensure “Responsible and Transparent Marketing”
  New York’s Attorney General recently announced an agreement with Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, that holds the company to a long list of requirements aimed at stemming the recent increase in opioid addiction and opioid-related deaths. The settlement resolves an investigation launched in December 2013 where the government found Purdue may have “failed to take the necessary steps” to ensure their sales reps properly flagged prescribers who may abuse or divert the medication. Further, the settlement resolves the government’s investigation into Purdue’s unbranded pain advocacy website. While ...
Source: Policy and Medicine - August 24, 2015 Category: American Health Authors: Thomas Sullivan Source Type: blogs

How Dare the FDA Approve Pain Relief for Kids
How dare they! This senator is disgusted — DISGUSTED — with the FDA’s recent decision to approve the long-acting opiate pain medication OxyContin for children as young as 11. “An 11 year old’s brain has another 14 years before it is fully developed. We have years of evidence that shows that drug use at an early age makes a child more likely to abuse drugs later in life,” he said in his letter to the FDA. “You have ignored all of this. Instead, under your new guidance, we are literally poisoning our children’s brains and setting them up for future drug abuse.” Excuse me, Senator, but this kind ...
Source: Musings of a Dinosaur - August 18, 2015 Category: Primary Care Authors: notdeaddinosaur Tags: Medical Source Type: blogs

Eat, pray push?
I’ve previously expressed my reluctance to dwell very much on the issue of constipation, but this common issue is one of the defining problems with wheat and grains, despite widespread conventional advice that they are healthy sources of fiber. Here’s an excerpt from chapter 4 of Wheat Belly Total Health, Your Bowels Have Been Fouled: Intestinal Indignities From Grains: “A condition as pedestrian as constipation serves to perfectly illustrate many of the ways in which grains mess with normal body functions, as well as just how wrong conventional ‘solutions’ can be. Constipation remedies are li...
Source: Wheat Belly Blog - July 30, 2015 Category: Cardiology Authors: Dr. Davis Tags: Wheat Belly Lifestyle bowel movements constipation fiber gastrointestinal gluten grains Source Type: blogs

OIG Continues Fight Against Medicare Part D Fraud and Abuse With Two New Reports
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the largest ever Medicare Fraud Strike Force sweep, with charges brought against 243 individuals for approximately $712 million in billings. More than 44 of the defendants arrested were charged with fraud related to the Medicare prescription drug benefit program known as Part D. The HHS Office of Inspector General has now released two reports that similarly target Part D fraud. “OIG has seen an increase in Part D fraud complaints,” the agency states. “As such, OIG has made Part D fraud a top priority.” Their first report, Ensuring the Integrity of Med...
Source: Policy and Medicine - June 24, 2015 Category: American Health Authors: Thomas Sullivan Source Type: blogs

Test your medicine knowledge: 28-year-old man with recurrent headaches
Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 28-year-old man is evaluated for a 5-year history of recurrent headache that occurs several times per month and lasts 12 to 24 hours. He describes the headache as a bilateral frontal pressure associated with nasal congestion and sensitivity to light, sound, and smell. The pain is generally moderate in intensity but worsens when he bends forward or exercises and has caused him to miss 3 days of work recently. He has no nausea or visual or neurologic symptoms. The patient has a history of nonseasonal allergic rh...
Source: Kevin, M.D. - Medical Weblog - June 13, 2015 Category: Journals (General) Authors: Tags: Conditions Neurology Source Type: blogs

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The urine drug screen commonly utilized in the emergency department is an immunoassay that uses antibodies to detect specific drugs or their metabolites. This allows for rapid screening for drugs of abuse, but it has many limitations.   Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is the confirmatory test, but it is more costly, time-consuming, and generally can only be performed by outside laboratories. This confirmatory test is generally not useful in the emergency department, but has a role in cases of pediatric exposures, research, or occupational drug testing.     One of the limitations of a urine drug screen a...
Source: The Tox Cave - June 1, 2015 Category: Emergency Medicine Tags: Blog Posts Source Type: blogs

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The urine drug screen commonly utilized in the emergency department is an immunoassay that uses antibodies to detect specific drugs or their metabolites. This allows for rapid screening for drugs of abuse, but it has many limitations.   Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is the confirmatory test, but it is more costly, time-consuming, and generally can only be performed by outside laboratories. This confirmatory test is generally not useful in the emergency department, but has a role in cases of pediatric exposures, research, or occupational drug testing.     One of the limitations of a urine drug s...
Source: The Tox Cave - June 1, 2015 Category: Emergency Medicine Tags: Blog Posts Source Type: blogs

Guilty!
No, not a bankster or a torturer. Jamie Dimon, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld still walk free. Still, this guy Kevin Lowe is one sick puppy. He's a physician who ran phony clinics for the purpose of writing prescriptions for oxycodone. One of his physician employees, Robert Terdiman, wrote more than 17,000 scrips in 18 months, totaling 3 million pills, which sell on the street for up to $30. And that's where they were going -- the clinics didn't directly serve addicts, rather they generated supply for a distribution operation. Lowe posted $5 million bail, but Preet Bharara has gotten his man. According to the press releas...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 15, 2015 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

District Court Dismisses Chicago's Painkiller Marketing Lawsuit Against Four of Five Opioid Manufacturers; Purdue Pharma Still on the Hook
District Court Judge Jorge Alonso of the Northern District of Illinois recently dismissed the City of Chicago’s lawsuit against four out of five pharmaceutical manufacturers that the city accused of marketing opioids in violation of Illinois’ consumer fraud laws and for causing doctors and pharmacies to submit, and the city to pay, claims that were false. Judge Alonso found the majority of allegations lacked the necessary specificity needed for a successful case. For example, while the City alleged fraudulent marketing schemes in fairly good detail, the complaint failed to mention the names of Chicago doctors or consum...
Source: Policy and Medicine - May 13, 2015 Category: American Health Authors: Thomas Sullivan Source Type: blogs

Cartoon: America’s Problem With Pain Meds
(Source: Better Health)
Source: Better Health - March 13, 2015 Category: American Health Authors: Dr. Val Jones Tags: Friday Funny Humor addiction Allergic Reaction cartoon Overuse Oxycontin Pain Medication Pharmacists Source Type: blogs