May 3, 2023
Opioid/Substance Use Disorders | Tea Leaves
  • Drug overdose death rates involving fentanyl more than tripled in the US from 2016 to 2021. The rate of overdose deaths involving fentanyl spiked by 279 percent between 2016 and 2021, according to a report published by the National Center for Health Statistics. Overdose death rates for methamphetamine and cocaine also rose over the same time period, quadrupling and doubling, respectively. Overdose death rates were highest from fentanyl in comparison with other drugs in every race, region, and age group, although some of the differences weren’t statistically significant, the authors said. The death rates were highest among men, people aged 25 to 44, and Alaska Native, American Indian, and Black people. (Articles here, here, and here)
  • A new study published in Health Affairs tracks buprenorphine coverage by payer type. The study examined Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and commercial payer formulary files and found that despite a general trend of decreasing prior authorization requirements and quantity limits over time, prior authorization was still much more common for extended- than immediate-release buprenorphine. Almost all formularies across payers covered at least one immediate-release buprenorphine product during the period studied, while fewer than half of commercial and one-fifth of Medicare Advantage formularies covered extended-release buprenorphine. (Article here)