Home / Lifestyle / OxyContin will no longer be covered by Florida's largest insurer

OxyContin will no longer be covered by Florida's largest insurer

In an effort to help lessen the opioid epidemic in the U.S., Florida’s largest healthcare insurer, Florida Blue, will stop covering OxyContin.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, Florida Blue will no longer cover the brand-name opioid OxyContin to try and curb widespread abuse of the drug, according to the Miami Herald. The insurer will offer Xtampza ER, an extended-release version of oxycodone, in its place.

“Most physicians, most plans have had a hands-off approach for a number of years, and we see where we are now,” Florida Blue’s vice president of commercial and specialty pharmacy, Scott McClelland, told the Herald. “We think it’s time for more people, including physicians in our community, the nurses, even the families to take a more proactive approach in trying to manage this epidemic.”

Xtampza ER is marketed as an “abuse deterrent” drug because the capsule it’s packed into cannot be broken or destroyed in a way that would make the substance easier to inject or snort.

Washington city to sue maker of OxyContin over opioid epidemic

FEB. 19, 2013, FILE PHOTO

In an effort to help lessen the opioid epidemic in the U.S., Florida’s largest healthcare insurer, Florida Blue, will stop covering OxyContin.

(Toby Talbot/AP)

More than 90 people die from prescription opioid overdoses in the U.S. every single day and in 2014, nearly 2 million Americans either abused or were addicted to the drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Last month, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

Florida Blue was not the first insurance company to announce its decision to end OxyContin coverage. In October, Cigna — a nation-wide provider — said it would stop covering Oxy prescriptions, also on Jan. 1. The provider will also be making the switch to Xtampza ER.

“Our focus is on helping customers get the most value from their medications,” Cigna Chief Pharmacy Officer Jon Maesner said in a statement. “This means obtaining effective pain relief while also guarding against opioid misuse.”

OxyContin's manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, is currently facing several lawsuits in Washington, Louisiana and New Jersey.

OxyContin’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, is currently facing several lawsuits in Washington, Louisiana and New Jersey.

(Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

OxyContin’s manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, is currently facing several lawsuits in Washington, Louisiana and New Jersey that blame the company’s marketing tools for fueling rampant opioid abuse. The drug maker denies the claims against it and said that both their product and Xtampza ER have abuse deterring features.

Ohio lawyer accuses jury members of stealing 71 oxycodone pills

“Unfortunately, Cigna’s decision limits the tools prescribers can use to help address the opioid crisis,” a Perdue Pharma spokesperson told CNBC. “Both products are formulated with properties designed to deter abuse.”

Tags:
prescription drug abuse
drug overdoses
florida

Send a Letter to the Editor

Join the Conversation:
facebook
Tweet

Life_Style Rss

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*