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Legislating for more affordable abuse-deterrent opioids

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    Although the FDA continues to promote the need for new abuse-deterrent opioid formulations, it has so far declined to remove non-abuse deterrent equivalents from the market. Non-abuse deterrent opioids are not only more popular with drug abusers; payers prefer them as well. Although the largest US insurance carriers provide coverage for abuse-deterrent opioids, many abuse-deterrent formulations are more expensive than the interchangeable non-abuse deterrent formulations. Therefore the insurance carriers often assign them to classes that require relatively higher copayments, creating a major price disincentive for patients.

    Legislation is now being prepared in Oregon to address this problem. The state of Oregon has the highest rate of prescription opioid abuse in the U.S.

    Oregon's legislation will remove the price disincentive for patients by requiring insurers to cover abuse-deterrent opioid drug products on a basis not less favourable than they cover non-abuse-deterrent products.

    Massachusetts already passed a similar law last year.


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