Drugs

We need better tools to control pharma prices

We need better tools to control pharma prices

With many drug makers facing no competition, the market isn't working

FROM THE BEGINNING of the Baker-Polito Administration, managing MassHealth has been a top priority.  We are pleased with the progress made to date, including its first major systems overhaul in 20 years, implementing strong internal controls, and reducing the growth rate from double digit numbers. However, it is evident that additional major structural reforms are(...)

Read More »

Taming MassHealth drug costs

Taming MassHealth drug costs

State should explore 'value-based' purchasing

IT’S ELECTION SEASON, and the focus of politicians has again moved to “skyrocketing” drug prices. When officials with the Massachusetts Medicaid program, MassHealth, and other senior state officials recently threatened to limit spending on pharmaceuticals,, reporters breathlessly reported that something must be done about “out of control” drug prices. One might ask, how much did(...)

Read More »

E-scripts for opioids save lives

E-scripts for opioids save lives

Technology exists for officials to pass laws to stem the crisis

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER recently signed into law a bill to mitigate the state-level effects of the ongoing opioid crisis. Like other such legislative efforts at both the federal and state levels, this important legislation requires healthcare providers and pharmacies to switch to electronic prescribing of controlled substances. This most recent legislative success reflects just how(...)

Read More »

Do your job, lawmakers tell pot agency

Do your job, lawmakers tell pot agency

Rep expresses concern about commission's sense of urgency

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE AS THE CANNABIS CONTROL COMMISSION weighs asking legislators to revisit the marijuana law to clarify requirements related to the agreements marijuana businesses are required to enter into with their host municipalities, the two lawmakers who wrote the law say no such fix is necessary. The commission has been wrestling with host(...)

Read More »

Opioids’ path of destruction in construction

Opioids’ path of destruction in construction

Sector accounts for one-quarter of all overdose deaths

DIFFERENCES IN HEALTH patterns among different population groups is a well-established fact. Indeed, it forms the foundation for an entire field of health research, epidemiology, which has contributed enormously to our understanding of the causes of disease. But a new report from the state Department of Public Health documenting the astonishingly high rate of opioid(...)

Read More »

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(...)

Read More »

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;(...)

Read More »

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(...)

Read More »

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(...)

Read More »

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(...)

Read More »