Physician Practice Roundup—Doctors overprescribed fentanyl, FDA failed to act, study says

Doctor prescribing
Doctors wrote prescriptions for fentanyl for patients who never should have received the drug, according to a new study. (Getty/noipornpan)

Doctors overprescribed fentanyl, FDA failed to act, study says

Doctors overprescribed the potentially dangerous painkiller fentanyl, according to a study published in JAMA.

The drug is supposed to be prescribed for cancer patients when other opioid painkillers have been insufficient, but the study led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers found between a third and half of patients should never have received the drug.

The study suggested that the Food and Drug Administration did not act when evidence emerged that potentially lethal fentanyl products were being inappropriately prescribed to patients. (JAMA study)

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Government may act to stop states with wide vaccine exemptions, FDA head says

The federal government may have to act if states don’t tighten laws that allow exemptions for childhood vaccinations, the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

In an interview with CNN, Scott Gottlieb, M.D., warned that if states don’t require more children to get vaccinated, the federal government may have to take action. Gottlieb commented in light of recent measles outbreaks in Washington and New York states. "Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they're creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications," Gottlieb said.

States are allowed to adopt their own laws over what types of exemptions are allowed for vaccines typically required to allow children to attend school. All states allow exemptions for medical reasons, but a growing number also provide exemptions on religious or philosophical grounds. (CNN article)

CMS: Government payers’ share of healthcare spending to reach 47% by 2027 

Government payers’ share of healthcare spending is set to increase by two percentage points over the next decade, reaching 47% by 2027, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

CMS' Office of the Actuary released its annual National Health Expenditure Projections report on Wednesday, and it estimates that a significant increase in Medicare enrollment will drive that trend over the next several years. 

The aging population is a major factor in other trends as well, according to the report, including a slowdown in spending in Medicaid this year. CMS estimates that 73.5 million people will be enrolled in Medicare by 2027, up from 57.2 million in 2017. (FierceHealthcare)

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