Archives for Pharma


(Un)Intended Consequences

A couple weeks ago the manufacturer of Suboxone, Reckitt-Benckiser, filed a Citizens Petition with the FDA, announcing a voluntary recall of one of the company’s signature products, Suboxone Tablets.  Suboxone was sold in tablet form for almost ten years, and the patent ran out on Suboxone Tablets last year.  A couple years ago the same company began making Suboxone Film; a rapidly-dissolving form of the medication that comes with each dose individually packaged.

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A World of Pain, Without Medications

A reader sent a link to a recent NYT editorial about the lack of pain medications in some countries.  The writer of the editorial injured his leg while traveling in Africa, and was dismayed to find that opioid pain medications were in limited supply, with only enough for patients admitted to the hospital.

The writer went on to describe a number of developing countries where pain medications are in short supply, and in some cases totally unavailable.  He described hospitals and clinics where he was visited, where patients await treatment for horrible injuries without so much as a tablet of Tylenol.

I don't want to rewrite the editorial, and I cannot copy it, for obvious copyright reasons-- so you'll have to follow
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More About Opioid Pain Treatment

Just a quick note-- A group of researchers from Boston University School of Medicine weigh in on the issue of opioid prescribing in an online editorial available through this link.  The editorial appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and I do not know how long the link will be active.  All such articles are copyright-protected, keeping me from posting them here-- but the link operational for non-subscribers, at least...
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Opioids for Chronic Pain (?)

I've written about the spectrum of medical and scientific opinion (not, unfortunately, always the same thing) over the use of opioids for treatment of chronic pain.  For those who missed the earlier discussion-- one that produced a heated response from readers-- I invite you to review those posts.

The essence of the issue is that over many years, there has been significant effort to increase patient access to potent opioids.  This effort has come in part from the pharmaceutical industry, but also from organizations that advocate for patients with a wide range of painful conditions, some with connections to pharma, and some without connections to pharma.

There has even been a push to increase opioid prescribing from Federal agencies.  Back in the 1990's, when I chaired my local hospital's Department of Anesthesia, we were warned by agencies hired by the hospital that the Joint Commision on Accreditation was focusing on pain control one particular year, and that some hospitals had been cited for insufficient prescribing of pain medications.
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Suboxone vs Buprenorphine: Organized Ignorance?

I have written in the past about my feelings about ‘Suboxone Film’– that it is a product that serves only one purpose, and that is to block generic competition from the Suboxone market. Today, a Bloomberg article discussed the current nature of the buprenorphine/naloxone business, and the efforts by RB to prevent generic competition from making roads that would lead to significant price reductions for healthcare consumers.

The point missed by the writers of the Bloomberg article, though, is the same point that is missed by many physicians– even by many addictionologists. The dirty secret that RB does not want anyone to realize is that the equivalent of generic Suboxone is already available, in the form of orally-dissolving tablets of buprenorphine.
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