Friday, March 18, 2016

Abuse-deterrent opioid drug bill moves to Senate

Kentucky health insurers would be required to have abuse-deterrent opioid painkillers in their formulary under a bill that passed the state House today.

House Bill 330, sponsored by Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, and Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, is designed to encourage the prescribing and use of “abuse-deterrent” opioid analgesic drugs which Wuchner said cannot be crushed, snorted or injected by drug abusers as readily as other opioids can.

Opioid analgesic drugs include painkilling drugs like hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone.

“We know the heroin epidemic that we have, and we know we don’t begin by sticking a needle in our arm and injecting heroin. It often begins with the opioid medication that you find in the (medicine) cabinet,” said Wuchner, a registered nurse.

Approved by the FDA, Wuchner said abuse-deterrent opioids, or ADOs, would not be able to be substituted with another opioid if an ADO is what is prescribed. The ADO would also have to be covered by health insurance companies if prescribed.

Health insurers would be required under HB 330 to have one ADO in their formulary but would be encouraged to have two per an amendment to the bill approved by the House.

HB 330 passed the House 94-1 and now awaits the Senate’s consideration.