Drugs

Feds reject Baker bid to rein in pharmacy costs

Feds reject Baker bid to rein in pharmacy costs

State sought to restrict access to some MassHealth drugs

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT on Wednesday rejected a bid by the Baker administration to rein in pharmacy spending by restricting which drugs would be covered under its MassHealth program. “While it is disappointing that our request to more effectively control rising pharmacy costs was not approved at this time, we remain committed to finding more innovative(...)

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Middlemen drive up patient drug costs

Middlemen drive up patient drug costs

Insurers use pharmacy benefits managers to tilt playing field

AS LEADERS OF organizations dealing with two of the most difficult chronic conditions to treat – hemophilia and HIV/AIDS – we consistently hear stories about how patients living with these diseases are given the run around by insurers to obtain affordable access to the medications they need to manage their diseases. It’s an uphill battle;(...)

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Worcester County emerging as marijuana central

Worcester County emerging as marijuana central

16 applications filed there; no other county has more than 5

WITH THE JULY 1 TARGET DATE for legal pot sales looming, Worcester County is emerging as marijuana central in Massachusetts. According to data presented at the Cannabis Control Commission meeting on Tuesday, residents of the central Massachusetts county that stretches from the state’s northern border to the Connecticut and Rhode Island state lines have filed(...)

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Recovery coaches could be game changers on opioid addiction

Recovery coaches could be game changers on opioid addiction

Legislature should move to adopt new credentialing for those working most closely with patients

IN 2017, five people died each day from opioid-related overdoses in Massachusetts. That’s nearly 2,000 families who lost a loved one. The opioid epidemic is one of the most serious public health crises of our time, and even though it causes such sadness, there are also glimmers of hope that can be seen in the(...)

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Too many municipal marijuana bottlenecks

Too many municipal marijuana bottlenecks

Industry’s grand opening will arrive with a whimper

APPLICATIONS FOR ADULT-USE MARIJUANA licenses have begun to pour into the state’s newly created Cannabis Control Commission with likely several hundred applications expected in 2018 alone. The commission has quickly assembled regulations and an application process that should be commended. And as a primary adult-use supporter during my days serving in the Massachusetts House of(...)

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How we end the opioid epidemic

How we end the opioid epidemic

Eliminate the stigma, treat the person

IT’S DIFFICULT TO WATCH OR READ the news without seeing another family torn apart by the opioid crisis. The epidemic is so widespread that it’s been declared a national public health emergency – and Massachusetts is on the forefront in many ways.  In the last few weeks, we’ve seen countless examples of how opioids can(...)

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Electronic opioid scripts save lives

Electronic opioid scripts save lives

Passing Baker's bill is key to stemming the overdose crisis

A HEARING EARLIER this month on Beacon Hill underscored the critical need for Massachusetts-specific solutions to the nation’s opioid crisis. As the Legislature prepares next steps to address this critical issue, it would do well to consider a bill recently proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker that would capitalize on technological advances to help address the(...)

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Lelling doesn’t budge on pot stance

Lelling doesn’t budge on pot stance

'It puts the banks in a bind, I understand that,' he says

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE OPIOID CRIMES ARE HIS TOP drug enforcement priority, but US Attorney Andrew Lelling told reporters Wednesday that his enforcement of federal marijuana laws could ensnare anyone from an hourly wage employee at a marijuana dispensary to a bank that opens an account for a pot shop. During a meeting with reporters(...)

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Debit card payer pulls plug on pot dispensaries

Debit card payer pulls plug on pot dispensaries

Cash only after statement by federal prosecutor begins to chill legal market

THE HARDLINE STANCE from the top federal prosecutor in the state about pot enforcement has caused a company that processes debit transactions for medical marijuana dispensaries to stop accepting the bank cards and forced the shops to revert to cash-only, adding a layer of hardship to patients. Westborough-based Merchant Services Consulting Group (MSCG), which processes(...)

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Top pols move cautiously on marijuana

Top pols move cautiously on marijuana

Seek more clarification from US Attorney

STATE LEADERS, most of whom opposed the legalization of marijuana, appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach to US Attorney Andrew Lelling’s announcement that pot cultivation, distribution, and possession are all crimes under federal law that he is sworn to enforce. Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh indicated on(...)

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