Essential Updates: Comp Medical News November

Welcome to this month’s edition of Comp Medical News. Purdue Pharma’s olive branch, decreasing American life expectancy, and antibiotic-resistant infection numbers are your headlines for November 2019.


Life Expectancy Declining for Americans

New research published in JAMA reveals that American gains in life expectancy over the last century are likely declining and are not keeping pace with other wealthy nations. The study, Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the United States, 1959-2017, explains that American life expectancy has declined for three years since 2014 and that deaths in middle age are driving the issue. The authors conclude:

“A major contributor has been an increase in mortality from specific causes (eg, drug overdoses, suicides, organ system diseases) among young and middle-aged adults of all racial groups, with an onset as early as the 1990s and with the largest relative increases occurring in the Ohio Valley and New England.”

Read more here.


Federal Prosecutors Investigating Big Pharma

The Wall Street Journal and Reuters are reporting that the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York is investigating six pharmaceutical companies, five of which the news outlet confirmed received subpoenas, for the companies’ involvement in distributing large quantities of opioids. This criminal probe will be separate from the thousands of other lawsuits targeting opioid manufacturers and distributors that have been filed on behalf of states and municipalities in the last several years.

Read more here.


WHO: Employee Burnout Could Be a Safety Risk

Despite the fact that burnout is still relatively ill-defined and not addressed in OSHA regulations, some are signalling that the issue could become a factor in future safety planning. According to EHS Today, the Quebec Labor Minister is pushing for burnout to be considered an occupational disease. The World Health Organization defines burnout as a specifically work-related stress management condition resulting in decreasing efficacy, anxiety and exhaustion.

Read more here.


Purdue to Pay States’ Legal Fees

Purdue Pharma recently received approval from its bankruptcy judge to pay millions in legal fees from the states that agreed to its $10 billion settlement over charges that it improperly marketed opioids. According to Reuters, Purdue had proposed a $200 million emergency fund in October that could be used for addiction treatment while the company completes its bankruptcy case. Some stakeholders worried that the priority placed on legal fees for the states sends the wrong message to victims of the opioid crisis.

Read more here.


Antibiotic-Resistant Infections are Much More Common than Previously Thought

The CDC released its first report on antibiotic-resistant infections, commonly called “superbugs” in six years this month. The agency said that people are dying of these infections at twice the rate that they previously believed, making the issue a top concern for the U.S. health system. According to the report, 2.8 million people contract a superbug infection every year, with 35,000 dying from them. The last report, in 2013, estimated that 2 million superbug infections occur every year. The CDC said that the dramatic increase in this year’s report is due to better data, not more deaths.

Read more here.


JAMA Surgery: Patient Satisfaction Stable Even with Fewer Opioids

A new study published in JAMA Surgery found that patients reported nearly identical satisfaction with their care, even if fewer postoperative opioids were prescribed. The researchers cut opioids by 50 percent and saw no statistically significant change, indicating that setting appropriate patient expectations on pain management can still result in high satisfaction. The study followed 11 surgeons, with a previous satisfaction rating of 9.7/10. After the 50 percent reduction intervention, scores averaged 9.65/10.

Read more here.



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