October CEPOP All-Participants Call at 3PM Today

3:00pm – 4:00pm. Our Focus Topic speaker for this meeting is:

  • Melanie Whitter, Director Research and Program Applications, NASADAD, to discuss the benefits of Geographic Information Systems in State Substance Use Agencies

Additional information, including the agenda and WebEx coordinates, can be found in the PDF materials to be circulated later today. Please let us know of any questions.


CEPOP All-Participants Teleconference WebEx (October 2019)

Conference Call Coordinates – (855) 244-8681 // 625 997 424

Defendants Reach $260 Million Agreement to Avoid Track 1 Bellwether Trial

In the early hours of Monday morning, three pharmaceutical distributors and a manufacturer agreed to a $260 million settlement with Cuyahoga and Summit Counties to avoid the start of the Track 1 bellwether trial in Cleveland. With opening statements set to begin later that morning, McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen Corporation agreed to pay out a combined $215 million with Teva Pharmaceuticals pledging $20 million cash and an additional $25 million in Suboxone. Two additional defendants remained in the Track 1 case: Henry Schein Medical, a manufacturer, and Walgreens, the pharmacy chain. Henry Schein indicated it would donate $1 million towards development of a Summit County-based educational foundation and coverage of $250,000 worth of expenses. Walgreens kept its distance from other Track 1 defendants and has since been removed from Track 1 and into a future case.

Simultaneously, these four defendants, along with manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, have been working with state Attorney Generals to devise a comprehensive global settlement that would end any ongoing litigation against those defendants included in the proposed agreement. Late Wednesday, four Attorney Generals representing Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, and Tennessee announced a proposed settlement of $48 billion — $22.25 billion in cash and the remaining $26 billion in prescription drugs (and distribution) for the treatment of opioid use disorders. As currently drafted, monies for each state would be split: 15% towards the state treasury; 15% for local municipalities; and 70% for a proposed state epidemic fund. At this point, several state Attorney Generals have come forth and indicated their disapproval of the initial terms placing the agreement’s fate in jeopardy. This settlement agreement would be completely separate from the previously reported agreement to remove these parties from the Track 1 litigation.

Articles & Resources

The New York Times – $260 Million Opioid Settlement Reached at Last Minute with Big Drug Companies

Reuters – Several States Wary of $48 Billion Opioid Settlement Proposal

Bloomberg – Proposed $48 Billion Opioid Deal Could Cut Out West Virginia

Related: Reuters – New York, States Reach $700 Million Settlement with Reckitt Over Opioid Probes

Fentanyl Leading Cause in Overdoses Nationwide According to New CDC Data

On Friday, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics issued an update on regional differences associated with drug overdose deaths in 2017. Broken down into 10 regions, it was found that fentanyl accounted for nearly 27,300 deaths (38.9% of all overdose deaths) followed by heroin (15,982; 22.8%). Prescription opioids such as oxycodone, morphine, and methadone were listed at numbers six through eight in terms of cause of death. All five of those drugs listed were found within the top 10 drugs responsible for overdose deaths throughout all surveyed regions. Hydrocodone and tramadol were also included in the top 15 along with other benzodiazepines and stimulants commonly co-prescribed with opioids. Generally, east of the Mississippi River, fentanyl was the number one culprit for overdose deaths with the western portion of the country struggling with methamphetamines; heroin and fentanyl following closely behind.

Articles & Resources

CDC National Vital Statistics Report – Regional Differences in the Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2017

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the issue. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Articles & Resources

American Medical Association – 90% Who need Substance-Use Disorder Treatment Don’t Get It

Cincinnati Enquirer – Doctors Are Avoiding Chronic Pain Patients, Need More Education, Survey Finds

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – A Nurse’s Call to Action for Safer Opioid Prescribing (A New Opioid Training Module for Nurses)

Sen. Gardner Newsroom – Gardner, Coons Introduce Legislation to Address the Opioid Crisis Through the Prevention of Drug Diversion

Drug Enforcement Administration – DEA Announces Additional Regulatory Steps to Address Opioid Epidemic

Federal Register (DEA) – Management of Quotas for Controlled Substances and List I Chemicals

FDA Newsroom – Statement on Agency’s First Year Accomplishments Implementing SUPPORT Act Authorities to Address the Opioid Crisis

FDA Newsroom – FDA, FTC Warn Company Marketing Unapproved Cannabidiol Products with Unsubstantiated Claims to Treat Teething and Ear Pain in Infants, Autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease

ONC Newsroom – New Data Show Nearly One-Third of Hospitals Can Access PDMP Data Within Their EHR

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York – Staten Island Doctor Pleads Guilty to Illegally Distributing Oxycodone

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas – Rogers Physician Arrested for Over-Prescribing Opiates and for Making a False Statement

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York – Amsterdam Hospital to Pay Civil Penalty for Violations of the Controlled Substances Act

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Federal Grand Jury Adds Two New Charges of Distribution of Controlled Substance Resulting in Death Against Carrizo Springs Doctor

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Four Individuals Who Operated Queens Medical Clinic Convicted For Illegally Distributing Oxycodone

This Week’s Calendar

The House and Senate are in town for a full week’s worth of business. At this time, however, there are no relevant hearings or events related specifically to opioids on the calendar. Should there be any additions to House or Senate schedules or updates with respect to additional events, this information will shared.

House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health
Safeguarding Pharmaceutical Supply Chains in a Global Economy
Wednesday, October 30; 10:00am; 2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Questions about the above content can be directed to [email protected].