Physician Practice Roundup—Millions of dollars, millions of pills lead to charges against 5 doctors

Hydrocodone opioid pills
Five doctors were arrested as part of a sweeping crackdown on illegal opioids in New York. (Getty/smartstock)

Millions of dollars, millions of pills lead to charges against 5 doctors

Five New York doctors were charged with taking millions of dollars in return for prescribing millions of opioid pills to patients who did not legitimately need them, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

The doctors, along with two other medical professionals, were arrested last Wednesday and Thursday in six cases aimed at cutting off the supply of illegal opioids in the New York metro area. Law enforcement officials said the doctors illegally sold oxycodone, with some of the drugs leading to fatal overdoses.

In all, 10 defendants, including a nurse practitioner, a pharmacist, two clinic workers and an alleged street dealer, were charged with illegally distributing oxycodone. (U.S. Attorney’s office announcement)

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Trump administration to require drug companies to include prices in TV ads 

The Trump administration is planning to force drug companies to include the list price of their products in direct-to-consumer advertising as part of its ongoing efforts to bring down the cost of drugs. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a proposed rule (PDF) on Monday evening that would require drug manufacturers that sell drugs covered by Medicare and Medicaid to include the cost for a typical course of treatment, such as a 30-day supply of medication for a chronic condition.

The rule would apply to drugs that cost $35 or more and would be required to be included in a “legible textual statement” at the end of a television ad. (FierceHealthcare)

CDC reports increase in unvaccinated children

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a small but increasing proportion of children who received no vaccines by 24 months.

The CDC said in 2017, coverage with most recommended vaccines for children aged 19 to 35 months remained “stable and high” but was lower in more rural areas and among insured or Medicaid-insured children.

Health officials recommend routine vaccination by age 2 against 14 potentially serious illnesses, including poliovirus, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox. While most children are still routinely vaccinated, the CDC found the number of children who have received no vaccinations by 24 months has been gradually increasing—reaching 1.3% for children born in 2015 compared to 0.9% in 2011.

The CDC said some children might be unvaccinated because of choices made by parents, but for others, factors might include a lack of access to healthcare or health insurance. (CDC report)