The lengthy deliberations of the 12-person jury focus on a scam prosecutors say funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to doctors nationwide to prescribe highly addictive Subsys more often and at higher doses. News on the opioid epidemic comes from Massachusetts, Ohio, New Hampshire and California, as well.
Bloomberg: Opioid Court Case: Still No Verdict
It’s been almost three weeks since a Boston jury began deliberating in the racketeering trial of Insys Therapeutics Inc. executives over the promotion of their opioid drug, with nary a peep from the panel. In that time a defense lawyer has grown almost a full beard, one of the defendants says she’s out of money and can’t afford to stay near the courthouse anymore, and observers are left speculating about what’s going on in the jury room high above Boston Harbor. (Lawrence, 4/28)
The Boston Globe: Construction Industry To Workers Battling Addiction: ‘We Want To Help’
As soaring numbers of construction workers battle addiction, building trades leaders in Boston are launching a conference this week intended to do just that: show contractors and union members how they can help those who are hooked on drugs and alcohol. (Hilliard, 4/28)
The Associated Press: Hospital’s Replacement Opens Amid Scandal Over Doc, Dosages
An Ohio health system is opening a new hospital in suburban Columbus as it deals with a scandal involving a doctor accused of ordering excessive painkiller doses for dozens of patients who died. The 210-bed Mount Carmel Grove City hospital opens Sunday. Mount Carmel Health System is moving inpatient services and hundreds of employees to the $ 361 million facility from Mount Carmel West, the flagship hospital it’s closing in the lower-income Franklinton neighborhood. (4/27)
NH Times Union: Beyond The Stigma: New Program Helps Nurses Struggling With Addiction
For the past 17 years, nursing has been ranked the most honest and ethical profession in an annual Gallup survey. But what happens when a nurse loses that trust because of substance abuse? In New Hampshire, a new program encourages nurses to self-report if they are impaired by alcohol or drug abuse. When they do, they’ll be referred to treatment, and their recovery will be monitored even after they return to duty. Proponents say it’s a way to protect patient safety, help nurses struggling with addiction and retain talented professionals in the face of a critical nursing shortage. (Wickham, 4/27)
Sacramento Bee: UC Davis Professor Close To Human Trials Of Nonaddictive Pain Drug
UC Davis Professor Bruce Hammock has spent a 50-year career studying insects. He probably wouldn’t be the Ph.D. considered most likely to shake up the multibillion-dollar prescription painkiller market. Nonetheless, he has developed a medication for chronic pain that he said has proved both effective and non-addictive in animal trials. (Anderson, 4/29)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.