Welcome to this month’s edition of Comp Medical News. Education on medical marijuana, U.S. health spending, and the Justice Department’s role in opioid litigation are you headlines for April 2018.
Medical Marijuana Education Lacking
A new study medical school deans suggests that, with only 9 percent of medical schools teaching students about medical marijuana, new graduates are ill-equipped to prescribe the substance and field questions on the topic. Researchers surveyed deans at over 100 medical schools and residents and fellows at one large academic center; scoured a national medical curriculum database; and found a paucity of education on an increasingly used treatment for pain and other conditions.
Read more via Pain Medicine News here.
Why is U.S. Health Spending So High?
A new study from JAMA found, surprisingly, that the U.S. health system is actually similar to other developed countries in terms of number of specialist physicians and the rate we send people to hospitals – so why is our spending so out of pace? The New York Times investigated the findings and discovered that the reason might lie in America’s lower funding of social services like housing and education.
Read more here.
Potential FDA Kratom Ban Worries Some Consumers
Vice’s Tonic looked into the movement to keep kratom, an herb often used as an opioid alternative or to help with withdrawal. Earlier this year, the FDA announced its intention to investigate kratom’s safety and potential for addiction. The move followed an effort to ban the substance in 2016 which faced public outcry.
Read more here.
Justice Dept. Resolves to Take Part in Opioid Litigation Against Big Pharma
The U.S. Justice Department confirmed this week that it sought court permission to participate in settlement negotiations aimed at resolving lawsuits by state and local governments against opioid manufacturers and distributors. The Justice Department said in a brief it wanted to participate in talks overseen by a federal judge in Cleveland as a “friend of the court” and that would provide information to help craft non-monetary remedies to combat the opioid crisis.
Read more via Reuters here.
Medicare and Medicaid Scripts Decrease in Medical Marijuana States
Two studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine show that opioid prescriptions declined in states that have legalized medical marijuana, however, it remains unclear if opioid users switched to medical marijuana. Medicare Part D opioid prescriptions fell by 2.21 million daily doses per year when state medical cannabis laws went into effect, compared with states not having such laws. Further, medical and recreational cannabis laws were associated with annual reductions of 5.88 percent and 6.38 percent, respectively, in Medicaid opioid prescribing rates, also in comparison with states where marijuana use remains illegal.
Read more via MedPage Today here.
Concentra Expands its Telemed Services
Concentra recently announced the expansion of its telemedicine platform, Concentra Telemed, to customers in Arizona and Florida. This follows recent announcements regarding Concentra Telemed’s expansion to Illinois, Michigan, and New Mexico and the launch of Concentra Telerehab in California. Concentra Telerehab, which is slated for rapid expansion to additional states, enables injured employees to connect with licensed Concentra therapy clinicians to receive physical therapy for workers’ compensation injuries.
Read more via WorkCompWire here.