JOIN US: CEPOP’s 2020 All-Participants Strategy Session

Later this afternoon, CEPOP will be hosting its Annual 2020 All-Participants Strategy Session from 3:00pm – 4:30pm at Faegre Baker Daniels offices (1050 K Street NW, Suite 400). The event will serve to bring together CEPOP participants in recapping the organization’s accomplishments over the past year as well as to recognize priority areas for activity  throughout 2020 and beyond.

To help frame the evolution of the epidemic and the available data on prescribing and overdose rates, we’re pleased to have Ms. Michelle Putnam from the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control join us and provide an overview these key pieces of information.

The meeting will be held in-person with remote participation available. Logistics and conference line coordinates can be found in the attached agenda. Please contact Matt Rubin with any additional questions or follow-up with respect to this meeting.

Articles & Resources

Agenda for CEPOP’s 2020 All-Participants Strategy Session


GAO Report Highlights State Medicaid Access Issues for MAT

Pursuant to Section 1011 of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, the Government Accountability Office on Friday released a report highlighting  the current state-based policies that impact Medicaid beneficiary access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). In turn, the report works to highlight several interventions that could be used to improve to buprenorphine, naltrexone and buprenorphine-naltrexone combination products. Looking at Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio and the District of Columbia, GAO looked specifically at access barriers focused specifically medication coverage and reimbursement, requirements related to prior authorization, distribution methods, and federal prescribing waiver processes. Further review of state protocol and policies is suggested to identify additional barriers or areas in which to better improve compliance with federal statute.

Articles & Resources

Government Accountability Office – Opioid use Disorder: Barriers to Medicaid Beneficiaries’ Access to Treatment Medications

Bloomberg – Watchdog Urges Review of Medicaid Access to Opioid Drugs


Democrats Push DEA on Release of Tele-MAT Rules

Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Patty Murray (WA), along with Representative Ann Kuster (NH), sent a letter to DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon last week regarding the status of a long-awaited rule that would aid in expanding access to medication-assisted treatment via telemedicine. Under the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act passed in October 2018, the DEA had twelve months to promulgate rules  around the special registration process. At the time that the letter was sent, the DEA had yet to issue such rules let alone submit them to the Office of Management and Budget for a preemptive review. Both have also remained on the Unified Agenda at OMB for over two years.

The two regulations of interest could have significant impacts on the ability to provide care at a distance to individuals with substance use disorders. The Members request a staff briefing on the status of these two rules by February 15th.

Articles & Resources

Rep. Kuster Newsroom – Congresswoman Kuster, Senators Murray and Warren Press Drug Enforcement Administration on Long-Overdue Steps to Expand Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment

POLITICO – Warren, Murray Press DEA on Long Overdue Telemedicine Rules


HHS Issues Final Rule Around Partial Fill Reporting Requirements

On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services published in the Federal Register a final rule that adopts modifications to the way in which healthcare providers indicate the dosage units dispensed for controlled substances under HIPAA. The final rule takes into consideration public comment on a January 2019 proposed rule and will aim to allow for prescribers to input data that indicates the quantity of controlled substances prescribed and subsequently filled. It is anticipated that this change will result in the development of significantly more information available to monitor prescribing patterns while incurring minimal costs associated with implementation.

These changes will go into effect on March 24, 2020, two months following publication in the Federal Register.

Articles & Resources

Federal Register – Administrative Simplification: Modification of the Requirements for the Use of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) D.0 Standard

Bloomberg Government – Partial Opiate Refills To Be Disclosed Under New HHS Rule


Insys Leadership Receives Sentencing in Subsys Fraud Case

Over two days last week, U.S. District Judge Allison Burrough issued sentences for several Insys Therapeutics executives implicated in the company’s improper marketing and sales efforts related to their sublingual fentanyl spray. The racketeering case focused around the company’s ongoing efforts to conspire to bribe physicians to prescribe their product that had a narrow label indication for breakthrough cancer pain. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that messaging around the product was targeted well beyond those indications, many patients having not presented with cancer. Beyond the company’s chief executive, John Kapoor, who received a prison term of 66 months, four additional executives received guilty verdicts for racketeering with various durations of jail time. In addition to these executives, more than a dozen physicians across the country have been convicted as part of the investigation into Insys.

Articles & Resources

NPR – Pharmaceutical Executive John Kapoor Sentenced to 66 Months in Prison in Opioid Trial

Vox – Opioid Maker Insys’s John Kapoor and Other Executives Sentenced to Prison


What We Read Last Week

PLOS One – Estimating the Impact of Drug use on U.S. Mortality, 1999-2016 (PDF Attached)

AP News – Feds to Let States Tap Opioid Funds for Meth, Cocaine Surge

Vox – AI Can Help Find Illegal Opioid Sellers Online. And Wildlife Traffickers. And Counterfeits.

Bloomberg Law – DOJ Keeps Up Pressure on Doctors Who Prescribe Opioids Illegally

Vox – Methadone Can Help People Beat Opioid Addiction – If They Can Afford It

Wall Street Journal – A Placebo for Pain Relief, Even When You Know It’s Not Real

POLITICO – HHS Forgets to Renew Trump’s Opioid Emergency Declaration

Bloomberg – McKesson Board Agrees to $175 Million Accord in Opioid Case

New Jersey Senate Newsroom – Singer’s ‘Charlie’s Law’ to Combat Opioid Addiction Is Now Law

Forbes – Medicare Will Now Pay For Acupuncture In Part Due To Opioid Abuse

CMS Decision Memo – Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain

National Academy of Science – Policy, Financing, Stigma, and Workforce Barriers Stand in the Way of Addressing Co-Occurring Opioid and Infectious Disease Epidemics

Report – Opportunities to Improve Opioid Use Disorder and Infectious Disease Services: Integrating Responses to a Dual Epidemic

The Journal of Gerontology – Use and Opinions of Prescription Opioids Among Older American Adults: Sociodemographic Predictors

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Request for Opioid Workgroup Nominations (Deadline: Feb. 4 via email to ncipcbsc@cdc.gov)

Department of Justice – Pennsylvania Doctor Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Distributing Oxycodone to his Patients

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida – Three South Florida Residents Sentenced to Prison for Their Roles in $21 Million Sober Homes Fraud Scheme

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio – Braking Point Recovery Center Owner Sentenced to 7½ Years in Prison for Health Care Fraud and Drug Crimes

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California – “Pill Mill” Doctor Pleads Guilty to Opioid Distribution, Admits Signing Prescriptions for Dead and Jailed Patients


This Week’s Calendar

The House returns this week from a brief break as the Senate continues to split time between traditional Committee work and the Impeachment trial. Several events of interest have been noticed for the forthcoming week, included below. Should there be any additions to House or Senate schedules or updates with respect to additional events, this information will be made available.


Questions about the above content can be directed to Matthew.Rubin@FaegreBD.com.