A state Senate report finds that individuals with substance misuse problems and criminal records have been certified as drug and alcohol counselors. It recommends establishing a centralized database to flag high-risk people seeking certification. Riverside Press-Enterprise et al.
A new analysis from ProPublica finds that CMS has done little to monitor unsafe prescribing patterns or investigate unsafe practitioners in Medicare Part D. According to CMS officials, oversight of the Part D program falls to private health plans. ProPublica/Washington Post.
Following the California Supreme Court's recent ruling affirming local governments' authority to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in their jurisdictions, city and county officials in Riverside and San Bernardino counties are taking legal or legislative action to close any remaining dispensaries. In some jurisdictions, officials are assessing hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, police investigation costs and other expenses related shutting down the dispensaries. Riverside Press-Enterprise.
A Contra Costa Times editorial states that the California Supreme Court "got it right" when it unanimously ruled that local governments statewide have the authority to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in their jurisdictions. However, it adds that the ruling "does nothing" to address two related issues: "that the federal government has aggressively maintained that possession and use of marijuana is illegal under federal law and that regulating the issuance of medical marijuana cards has been lax at best and often fraudulent." Contra Costa Times.
On Monday, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that local governments in the state have the authority to ban medical marijuana shops in their jurisdictions. The ruling was part of a legal challenge to a ban enacted by Riverside in 2010. AP/Sacramento Bee.
In a Capitol Weekly opinion piece, Hollaine Hopkins -- executive director of the Lupus Foundation of Southern California -- argues that a bill, by Assembly member Toni Atkins, is "common-sense legislation that will shine a light on the dangerous practice of therapeutic substitution and close the loophole in the law that allows pharmacists to take kickbacks for making a therapeutic switch." Capitol Weekly.
A coalition of consumer groups and trial lawyers is launching a campaign for a proposed November 2014 ballot measure aimed at curbing prescription drug misuse and holding doctors more accountable for improper prescribing practices. The group plans to unveil a website to promote the campaign as it works out the details of the ballot proposal. Los Angeles Times.
An analysis finds that California spends more on anti-psychotic drugs for inmates than other states with large prison systems. Officials say that they do not overprescribe such drugs, while an expert says some drugs are used out of fear of violating federal orders. AP/Washington Post.
German drugmaker Bayer has announced plans to acquire California-based Conceptus -- which manufactures Essure, a permanent birth control method -- for about $1.1 billion, or $31 per share. Finalization of the deal is subject to U.S. antitrust approval and expected by mid-2013. AP/Fresno Bee.
The Medical Board of California supports a series of bills that would address prescription drug misuse in the state. The board also has expressed opposition to a bill that would eliminate its authority to investigate physician misconduct. Los Angeles Times, AP/Modern Healthcare.
In a Capitol Weekly opinion piece, Gerald Felando -- a dentist and a former Assembly member -- writes that legislation that would require pharmacists to notify physicians when biosimilar drugs are substituted for advanced biologic medications would "ensure patient safety across California." According to Felando, "Leaving patients and physicians in the dark as to when a substitution occurs is spinning the health care roulette wheel" and could endanger patients' health and safety. Capitol Weekly.
A bill by state Sen. Curren Price and Assembly member Richard Gordon would shift the authority to investigate alleged misconduct by physicians from the Medical Board of California to California's attorney general. Sacramento Business Journal, Los Angeles Times.
A bipartisan group of senators has released a draft bill that would create a nationwide electronic system to track the distribution of prescription drugs. The proposed measure would require every entity in the prescription drug supply chain to provide electronic transaction information during ownership changes, strengthen licensing requirements for wholesale drug distributors and require FDA to maintain a database of such distributors. Philadelphia Inquirer’s "PhillyPharma", Politico's "Pulse."
A program launched at Kaiser Permanente Southern California two years ago has helped curb the number of prescriptions for additive brand-name painkillers -- such as Oxycontin and Vicodin -- by as much as 80%, officials say. The program was designed to educate doctors about the addictive nature of such medication and how to safely prescribe the drugs. KPCC's "KPCC News."
Los Angeles County health officials are urging residents to drop off their unused, unwanted or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications at any of the drop-off bins available countywide as part of any effort to curb medication misuse. In addition, officials say residents can turn in medication-related items like needles and other controlled substances with "no questions asked." KPCC's "On Central."