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What We're Reading: Illicit Drug Use Screening; FDA Foreign Inspection Questions; Curbing Unnecessary Imaging

AJMC Staff
The US Preventive Services Task Force is recommending screening all adults for illicit drug use; Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is asking the FDA to perform more unannounced inspections of foreign drug manufacturing facilities; 5 years after Congress passed a law to reduce unneccessary diagnostic imaging tests, the law has yet to be implemented.

USPSTF Recommends Screening All Adults for Illicit Drug Use

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a draft recommendation statement recommending that all adults aged 18 years and older be screened for illicit drug use. The task force cited a 2017 national survey in which an estimated 11.5% of adults reported current use of illicit drugs. Illicit drug use is more often reported among young adults aged 18 to 25 years (24.2%) than in older adults (9.5%) or in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years (7.9%). Citing insufficient evidence, USPSTF said it could not assess the benefits and harms of screening for illicit drug use in adolescents.

Grassley Questions FDA Foreign Inspection Program

Following HHS’ outlining of a plan to create 2 potential pathways to allow states and other entities to import some prescription drugs intended for foreign markets, Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is asking the FDA to perform more unannounced inspections of foreign drug manufacturing facilities. Writing to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, MD, Grassley explained that he had learned that the FDA does not track in its databases whether a foreign inspection was subject to an announced or unannounced visit, reported The Center for Biosimilars®.


Trump Administration Delays Law to Curb Unnecessary Imaging Tests

In 2014, Congress passed a law to reduce unnecessary magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography scans, and other expensive diagnostic imaging tests that could both harm patients and waste money. However, 5 years later, the law has yet to be implemented and the Trump administration has delayed the law until January 2020, 2 years later than originally planned, according to Kaiser Health News. Even with the 2020 start date, CMS has scheduled next year as a “testing” period, meaning that the agency will still pay for an exam even if the physician doesn’t check the guidelines.

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