prescription drugs

Mike Sherry / Heartland Health Monitor

New federal legislation aimed at combating the nation’s opioid addiction crisis has a provision tailored specifically for Missouri, which is the only state without a database designed to prevent pill shopping among multiple dispensers.

The language, inserted by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, makes counties and municipalities eligible for federal funds that help establish a prescription drug monitoring program. Her amendment applies only to states without a prescription drug monitoring database.

Rebecca Lyn Phillips, of Topeka, has schizophrenia and writes a blog about the challenges of living with the disorder. She says the prospect of step therapy is 'terrifying' to many people with severe and persistent mental illnesses.
Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

Although every state has now adopted some form of “step therapy” to control prescription drug costs, patient advocacy groups in Kansas remain deeply distrustful of the policy scheduled to take effect July 1.

Also known as “fail first,” the policy requires providers participating in KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, to start patients on less expensive drugs before moving them to more expensive alternatives if medically necessary.

The U.S. is pledging to take in 85,000 refugees from around the world in 2016. The Ethics Professors discuss whether that's enough as the crisis in Syria continues. Also, is it ethical to let the free market decide prescription prices if that puts drugs outside the reach of many who need them, and should leaders remain in their positions if they, or their organization, are under investigation?

Guests:

Google Commons

A doctor looking to help a patient prescribes a medication for a condition it was not originally marketed to treat. How legal, and how risky the off-label use of prescription drugs?On Thursday's Up To Date  Steve Kraske talks with a pharmacist about just how common this practice is among physicians and why drug companies don’t market their products for multiple uses.  

Guest:

Rick Couldry is Director of Pharmacy at the University of Kansas Hospital. 

Gilead Sciences

In the past, the standard treatments for hepatitis C have been nearly as bad as the disease, making some patients feel like they have a severe flu. And, even with treatment, hepatitis C often doesn’t get better. But things could be changing for the over three million people infected in the United States. A new class of improved hepatitis C drugs is emerging, and they're being tested in Kansas City.

“When you get a call that says you’ve got hepatitis, it’s a wakeup call,” says 57-year old Bob Barber.

Tens of millions of Americans turn to powerful painkillers to ease their sufferings. But an analysis on the sales of two prescription drugs over a decade is particularly worrisome.

Check out The Associated Press' interactive map at the end of this post. It uses data from the Drug Enforcement Agency to show how sales of oxycodone and hydrocodone ballooned from 2000-10.

You can click on individual states to see which areas had the biggest increases.