Fueling an Epidemic: Insys Therapeutics and the Systemic Manipulation of Prior Authorization   [open pdf - 9MB]

"The opioid epidemic has exacted a staggering human and financial cost in the United States over the past 20 years. Approximately 183,000 Americans died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2015, with more than 15,000 Americans dying in 2015 alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2015 '[t]he age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2015…was more than 2.5 times the rate in 1999.' Provisional 2016 statistics from the CDC also show that '[d]rug deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled from 2015 to 2016,' and 'deaths involving synthetic opioids, mostly fentanyls, have risen to more than 20,000 from 3,000 in just three years.' In Missouri, the rate of prescription opioid-related inpatient hospitalizations and emergency room visits more than doubled from 187 per 100,000 to 424 per 100,000 between 2005 and 2014. Similarly, Medicare Part D spending on commonly abused opioids increased 165% between 2006 and 2015, and one out of three Part D recipients received at least one prescription opioid in 2016 at a cost of $4.1 billion."

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Office of Senator Claire McCaskill: https://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/
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