What We're Reading: Gottlieb Told to Implement Law; Opioid Prescriptions Drop; Vets Struggle to Get Care

Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, wrote FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, to make clear the intent of the federal “right-to-try” law he authored; the number of opioid prescriptions has fallen by 22% between 2013 and 2017; inadequate record-keeping, policy gaps and limited research are leaving military veterans in limbo and struggling to get care from the Department of Veterans Affairs if their claims for brain injuries are related to the use of weapons in training instead of in combat.

Senator Johnson Tells Gottlieb Intent of "Right-toTry" Is to Weaken FDA

Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, wrote FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, Thursday to make clear the intent of the federal “right-to-try” law he authored, according to STAT. “This law intends to diminish the FDA’s power over people’s lives, not increase it,” he wrote in a letter to Gottlieb following President Trump signing the law this week. Johnson requested a meeting about the implementation of the law. Gottlieb said in an interview with STAT last month that the FDA could still protect patients through the regulatory process; the new law allows patients with life-threatening illnesses to request access to experimental therapies the agency hasn’t approved.

Opioid Prescriptions Drop for Fifth Year in a Row

The number of opioid prescriptions has fallen by 22% between 2013 and 2017, according to a report from the American Medical Association. The Hill reported it’s the fifth year in a row that prescriptions have dropped. Between 2016 and 2017, there was a 121% increase in doctors accessing electronic databases that track opioid prescribing. And, as of May, the number of doctors certified to provide buprenorphine rose 42% in the last 12 months.

Veterans Injured in Training Struggle to Get Care for Brain Injuries

Inadequate record keeping, policy gaps and limited research are leaving military veterans in limbo and struggling to get care from the Department of Veterans Affairs if their claims for brain injuries are related to the use of weapons in training instead of in combat, The Wall Street Journal reported. The military doesn’t don’t record when or how many rockets are fired in training, leaving veterans without the proof they need of how they were injured.