The verdict was against Richard Farmer, accused of accepting sexual favors for drugs. “Doctors who take advantage of patients suffering from addiction are no different than street corner drug dealers,” said the DEA’s J. Todd Scott. News on the epidemic is on a drug manufacturer’s proposed settlement, an Arizona candidate’s overdose, treatment in jails, and alleged dangers of relapsing after using Vivitrol, as well.
The Washington Post: Tennessee Psychiatrist Richard Farmer Found Guilty In First Conviction For Appalachian Opioid Task Force
A Tennessee psychiatrist who prescribed more than 1,200 pills to three sisters in three years was found guilty in federal court Friday of distributing powerful opioid painkillers without a “legitimate medical purpose,” according to a statement from the Justice Department. The verdict against Richard Farmer, 83, marks the first conviction for a federal task force formed in 2018 to crack down on illegal opioid prescriptions in the Appalachian region amid the federal government’s sometimes-controversial effort to stem the opioid epidemic through prosecution. (Bellware, 2/24)
The Wall Street Journal: Mallinckrodt Pitches At Least $1.6 Billion Opioid Settlement, Generics Unit Bankruptcy
Drugmaker Mallinckrodt PLC is finalizing a settlement proposal worth at least $1.6 billion that would place its U.S. generic-drug business into bankruptcy to address coming debt maturities and liabilities stemming from the opioid crisis, according to people familiar with the matter. The Ireland-based drugmaker is close to a proposed deal that includes a chapter 11 filing covering its U.S. generics business and a resolution of claims from hundreds of state and local governments stemming from the cost of combating opioid addiction, the people said. (Gladstone, Hopkins and Chung, 2/24)
Arizona Republic: Arizona Congressional Candidate Suspends Campaign After Overdose
Chris Taylor, a Safford city councilman who is running for Congress, overdosed on heroin last week and since has suspended his campaign. The Wednesday incident was a relapse for Taylor, a combat veteran who has battled opioid addiction since high school. In a written statement, Taylor said he was seeking treatment and not backing away from what happened. (Hansen, 2/24)
North Carolina Health News: For Some Opioid Users In NC, Jail Doesn’t Mean Detox
For most people using substances, time in jail means forced detox. This is also true for those trying to improve their lives with opioid addiction programs, such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). More and more North Carolinians are entering these MAT programs, where they receive daily doses of drugs, such as methadone or buprenorphine that hold off the symptoms of withdrawal. But if someone in MAT is arrested and put in a North Carolina jail, they’re usually cut off their medication. (Knopf, 2/25)
The Boston Globe: Alkermes Sued Over Man’s Overdose Death After Taking Its Addiction Drug
The parents of a 26-year-old California man who died of an opioid overdose have sued the manufacturer of Vivitrol, the medication he took to treat his addiction, in a case that highlights the controversies surrounding the response to the nation’s opioid crisis. The wrongful-death suit alleges Alkermes (ALKS) failed to warn of the high risk of overdose when patients stop taking Vivitrol and then relapse into opioid use. It also claims Vivitrol is ineffective and deceptively marketed. (Freyer, 2/24)
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