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Camurus' weekly/monthly opioid dependence injection accepted in Scotland for NHS use

Image Credit: US Air Force Valerie Monroy

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has announced its acceptance of Buvidal (buprenorphine prolonged-release solution for subcutaneous injection) from Swedish pharma and biotech firm Camurus, approving its use for patients on NHS Scotland for the treatment of opioid dependence.

The decision covers patients over the age of 16, administered weekly or monthly “within a framework of medical, social and psychological treatment”.

Researchers design automatic opioid overdose antidote device

Image credit: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2019.05.041

Researchers at Purdue University are developing a device that would automatically detect an overdose in opioid users and release a burst of naloxone, an antidote to opioids deadly effects.

Hyowon "Hugh" Lee, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Purdue, explained: “The antidote is always going to be with you. The device wouldn't require you to recognize that you're having an overdose or to inject yourself with naloxone, keeping you stable long enough for emergency services to arrive.”

Ohio prosecutors file charges against opioid distributor Miami-Luken

Image Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/Oceana%2C_West_Virginia.jpg

Federal prosecutors in Cincinnati have filed criminal charges against opioid distributor Miami-Luken, and four others, over the role they played in the opioid crisis in the United States.

Two former Miami-Luken executives and two pharmacists have been charged with fuelling the opioid crisis and flooding small towns in Appalachia with huge quantities of opioid drugs.

Oklahoma lawyers say J&J is kingpin of pharmaceutical cartel

Lawyers representing the State of Oklahoma described Johnson & Johnson as the ‘kingpin’ in a ‘pharmaceutical cartel’ as they accused the healthcare conglomerate of playing a central role in the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Oklahoma lawyers including Attorney General Mike Hunter told a judge that J&J’s ‘greed’ had led the company to sow ‘utter confusion’ about the risks of opioid painkillers with their years-long marketing campaign.

Fewer opioids prescribed in states with medical marijuana, research shows

Fewer opioids are prescribed in states with legal medical marijuana, according to research from University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

All in all, the number of opioid prescriptions has tripled in the past 25 years. This increase in the number of prescriptions has in turn seen the number of opioid related deaths rise as the US saw 29,406 synthetic opioid overdose deaths in 2017 alone.

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The pharmaceutical industry is a big polluter than the automotive industry. This was our top story this week. The findings should force us to consider the damage the sector is doing to the environment as we ask ourselves what might be done to make pharma more green.

Meanwhile the UK government refused to sign up to a WHO resolution calling for greater transparency in drug pricing. Alongside Germany and Japan, Britain sought to protect its own interests as drug prices continue to rise.

Oklahoma prosecutors say J&J used 'brainwashing campaign' to boost opioid sales

Oklahoma state prosecutors have accused Johnson & Johnson of engaging in a “cynical, deceitful, multibillion-dollar brainwashing campaign” to boost sales of opioid drugs.

The healthcare conglomerate played a leading role in fuelling “the worst manmade health crisis in the history of the country and the state,” Oklahoma’s attorney general, Mike Hunter said.

The firm ignored research on the dangers of painkillers as they sought to “establish opioid analgesics as the magic drug.”

Pharma firms paid Italian doctor to promote opioid drugs

Opioid drugmakers paid an Italian pain doctor to promote opioid painkillers as a treatment for chronic pain, Italian prosecutors say.

Mundipharma (the international arm of OxyContin drukmaker Purdue Pharma) and German firm Grünenthal paid prominent pain doctor Guido Fanelli hundreds of thousands of euros to promote opioid drugs in Italy.

UK GPs are underequipped to handle growing chronic opioid use, report warns

New research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) has argued that general practitioners (GPs) in the UK are lacking the skills needed to adequately handle chronic opioid use in their patients, and the psychological challenges which come with the goal of managing and reducing their use of the addictive and often harmful drugs.

The release of the report follows significant findings which show that the number of opioid prescriptions in England and Wales had rocketed by 60% over a ten-year period, rising from 14 million in 2008 to reach 23 million in 2018.

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This week was marked by the failure of two Phase 3 trials after both Eli Lilly and Gilead suffered from poor results in late stage studies. Lilly’s failure was so such that they decided to withdraw Latruvo from the market.

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