What We're Reading: End-of-Life Discussions; New Opioid Guidance; Missouri's HCV Drug Policy

This Thanksgiving, families will discuss of end-of-life care wishes; FDA provides new guidance for development of abuse-deterrent opioids; Missouri reverses its restrictive policy in Medicaid for hepatitic C medicine.

Discussing End-of-Life Care at Thanksgiving

With the family all together at Thanksgiving, more and more people are using the holiday dinner to discuss their wishes for end-of-life care. Kaiser Health News reported that Thanksgiving and Christmas are the 2 times of year when requests for documents that guide end-of-life care decisions surge. About one-third of US adults have written advance directives, and having this document and other advance care planning in place can increase the chance that a person’s wishes are followed at the end of their life.

FDA Issues Guidance on Opioid Development

The FDA is encouraging drug companies to develop generic versions of abuse-deterrent opioids that are already approved. Although there are 10 opioids with abuse-deterrent formulations on the market, uptake has been slow, and price is one significant barrier, reported MedPage Today. Generic versions of these drugs will help bring the price down. FDA also recommended studies companies can conduct to demonstrate a generic drug is at least as abuse-deterrent as the brand-name counterpart.

Missouri Reverses Restrictive Medicaid HCV Drug Policy

The high cost of hepatitis C virus drugs and the large population that needed to be treated caused some states to adopt restrictive Medicaid policies on who could receive the medication. Now, Missouri has reversed course on its policy after a lawsuit argued some Medicaid patients who needed the treatment were denied, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Court documents estimated that 13,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Missouri have hepatitis C. While the cost of the drug was initially $93,000 for a 12-week course, the price has since come down, and an attorney for the plaintiffs argue that reversing the policy will actually save the state money in the long run.