Essential Updates: Comp Medical News for March

Welcome to this month’s edition of Comp Medical News. Purdue’s settlement, unapproved addiction treatment, and fentanyl’s geography are your headlines for this month.


Reuters: Purdue Settles in Landmark Case in Oklahoma

A report from Reuters says that “OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and members of the wealthy Sackler family that own the company have reached a $270 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit by the state of Oklahoma accusing Purdue of helping fuel the opioid abuse epidemic.” The case is one of many filed by states and municipalities against Purdue and other opioid manufacturers for misleading marketing practices that led to the current opioid crisis and its associated financial pressures.

Read more here.

Opioid Mortality Increasing on Eastern Seaboard

A new study published in JAMA has found that new opioid “hot spots” have emerged. Previously a primarily Midwestern problem, the researchers claim that high rates of opioid overdose are becoming concentrated in the Eastern United States. According to a MedPage Today report, opioid overdose deaths climbed fastest in the District of Columbia, more than tripling every year since 2013. Eight states (Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, and Ohio) had opioid-related mortality rates that at least doubled every 3 years. Florida and Pennsylvania had opioid-related mortality rates that at least doubled every 2 years.

Read more here.

CDC: Hospital-Acquired Infections Declining

Acute-care hospitals reduced Clostridium difficile infections by 13 percent and central line-associated bloodstream infections by 9 percent in 2017, according to the latest progress report on reducing health care-associated infections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals also reduced methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections by 8 percent, catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 5 percent, and ventilator-associated events by 3 percent in 2017, among other improvements.

FDA Warns Marketer of Homeopathic Addiction “Treatment”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted a warning letter to Nutra Pharma Corp. for illegally marketing unapproved products labeled as homeopathic with claims about their ability to treat addiction and chronic pain, including pain associated with cancer, diabetes, shingles, fibromyalgia and other serious conditions.

More info here.

New Opioid Rx Halved by Some Providers Over Five Years

A study of more than 86 million people in the U.S. with private insurance has found that the rate of first time opioid prescriptions fell by 54 percent between 2012 and 2017. The decline is due primarily to a decrease in doctor’s prescriptions for many conditions, in accordance with CDC guidelines. The number of prescriptions for three days’ worth of an opioid – the recommended amount for an initial prescription – fell 57 percent during those five-and-a-half years and there was a 68 percent decline in the number of prescriptions offering seven days of opioid therapy.

Read more from Reuters here.

Fentanyl Deaths Signal “Third Wave” of American Opioid Epidemic

A new report published last week by the CDC found that men now die from opioid overdoses at three times the rate of women and overdose deaths among African-American and Latino-American are quickly rising. One of the major reasons for these increases is the presence of fentanyl in the drug supply, especially in the Northeast. According to Kaiser Health News, researchers cannot confirm why fentanyl is so much more common in Northeastern death certificates, but some experts suggest that dealers find it easier to mix crystals of fentanyl into the standard heroin most often sold in the Northeast, versus the black tar variety commonly sold in the West.

Read more here.

Report: Employees Don’t Feel Safe at Work

Recent research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management has found that in the context of increasing mass shootings and workplace violence, one out of seven employees feel physically unsafe at work. The survey aimed at HR professionals revealed that nearly half of HR professionals say their organization had at some point experienced a workplace violence incident. That number was 36 percent in 2012. Of those who reported having experienced workplace violence, more than half said their organization had experienced an incident in the last year.

Read more from EHS Today here.

Image Credit: KHN

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