What We're Reading: FDA Will Require Strong Warnings on Opioid Labels

What we're reading, September 1, 2016: new, stronger warnings on opioid labels; why competition hasn't curbed drug price hikes; and Zika funding bill likely won't pass the Senate.

The FDA will require strong warnings on opioids and certain anxiety medications. According to STAT, labels on these prescriptions will be required to alert doctors and patients about the risk of combining the two. Boxed warning labels on opioids and benzodiazepines will need to explain the danger of using the drugs with one another following a decade of increased prescribing of both classes of drugs and a rise in overdose deaths from using them together.

Why do drug prices continue to rise despite competition in the market? Since the United States allows drug manufacturers to set their own prices—unlike most other developed nations—prices for medicines continue to be higher than other countries in the world simply because companies can raise their prices, reported the Los Angeles Times. So even when 8 or more companies make the same decades-old drug, competition does little to keep the price down. One way to curb excessive price hikes is increased regulation, explained one expert.

The Zika fund may be close to running out, but there isn’t much hope that Congress will pass a bill requesting funding to fight the virus. The problem is that the Senate’s bill to provide $1.1 billion in Zika funding includes a rider that blocks funding for Planned Parenthood, according to CNN. Democrats have objected to the rider, which was one reason Congress left for summer recess without agreeing on legislation.