What We're Reading: Dementia Mortality; Purdue's Opioid Antidote; Prior Authorization Frustration

March 15, 2019

Between 2000 and 2007, mortality due to dementia more than doubled; the FDA has granted fast-track designation for an opioid antidote from Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company accused of aggressively marketing OxyContin; physicians say prior authorization is interfering with continuity of care.

Dementia Mortality More Than Doubled

Mortality rates due to dementia more than doubled since 2000, jumping from 30.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2000 to 66.7 in 2017, according to a National Statistics Report from CDC. These death rates varied by age, sex, race, and geographic location, and in 2017, the majority of deaths occurred in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. According to the report, taking into account mortality from all 4 causes of dementia would have made dementia the third-leading cause of death in the United States in 2017.

FDA Fast Tracks Purdue’s Opioid Antidote

The FDA has granted fast-track designation for an experimental opioid overdose drug from Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company currently under fire and facing lawsuits for allegedly aggressively and deceptively marketing OxyContin, reported CNN. According to the drug maker, their opioid antidote, nalmefene hydrochloride injection, has a longer effect than naloxone.

Prior Authorizations Interfering With Care

A report from the American Medical Association found that the use of prior authorization has greatly increased in the last 5 years, and the overwhelming majority (85%) of physicians say that the process interferes with continuity of care. The survey of 1000 physicians in December 2018 also found that nearly 7 in 10 physicians find it difficult to determine whether the prescription or medical service requires prior authorization.