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PhRMA takes aim at opioid abuse, misuse

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WASHINGTON —  The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has launched a multiyear, multimillion-dollar initiative to help tackle the opioid abuse epidemic.

PhRMA said this week that the effort includes a partnership with the Addiction Policy Forum to fund state and local programs, plus support for new public policies that help families and individuals impacted by the crisis. In the coming months, PhRMA and the Addiction Policy Forum will work together to implement the Forum’s four-year vision plan to fight opioid abuse and misuse, titled “Priorities to Address Addiction in America,” released in October.

Stephen Ubl_PhRMA

Stephen Ubl

The plan spotlighted eight focus areas for addressing opioid addiction. Recommendations included analysis of key states to identify gaps in current programs, increased education efforts for patients and families, and the development of an online portal to connect people with addiction treatment options and information.

PhRMA noted that the biopharmaceutical industry’s commitment will allow the Forum to implement programs nationwide, including prevention initiatives, an online addiction resource center, public-private partnerships, and new tools and protocols for health systems, among other efforts.

“We are deeply committed to addressing the opioid crisis and advancing solutions that will make a meaningful difference for families and communities,” stated PhRMA president and chief executive officer Stephen Ubl. “This is only possible if we make a point to listen, partner with organizations and experts on the ground, and ensure that our top priority is saving lives. The Addiction Policy Forum is actively working to provide resources to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and treatment, and we are proud to support their efforts through this new partnership.”

Besides the partnership with the Forum, PhRMA released an expanded set of policy proposals targeting factors driving the opioid crisis. The new platform supports policies that limit the supply of opioid medications to seven days for acute pain with clear exemptions; mandate prescriber training to ensure appropriate treatment of addiction and pain; and eliminate coverage barriers that keep patients from accessing all forms of addiction treatment, including medication assisted treatments, and recovery support.

“The challenge in front of us requires that everyone be at the table, working together to implement comprehensive, long-lasting solutions that will save lives,” commented Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and CEO of the Addiction Policy Forum. “We look forward to partnering with leaders in the biopharmaceutical community to help states, cities, towns and families change the trajectory of this crisis.”

Also, to spur the development of innovative new treatments and therapies, PhRMA recently said it’s working to form a public-private partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and leaders in the biopharmaceutical industry. The partnership will help bring non-opioid, non-addictive pain medicines and improved medication-assisted treatments for addiction to patients sooner.

Currently, 40 non-opioid analgesics and 40 addiction and overdose treatments are in the development pipeline, PhRMA reported.


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