What We're Reading: Importing Drugs From Canada; House Passes VA Bill; Opioid Withdrawal Treatment

A new law in Vermont would allow the state to import drugs from Canada, but it needs to be certified by HHS; the House passes a bill to expand veterans' access to private care; the FDA has approved the first nonopioid to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Vermont Wants to Import Drugs From Canada

A new law in Vermont would allow the state to import drugs from Canada. However, the law, signed by Governor Phil Scott, needs to be certified by HHS, according to Reuters. HHS has not indicated a willingness to allow such a move. HHS Secretary Alex Azar has explained that Canada has a limited supply of drugs and would not have enough to sell them to the United States.

House Votes to Expand Veterans’ Access to Private Care

A bill that would allow veterans to receive care from a private physician if a government-run center can’t provide the care has passed the House by a vote of 347-70. The program would be implemented next year and would fulfill the president’s promise to expand veterans’ access to private care, reported AP. The bill has the support of nearly 40 organizations and could be expanded based on veterans’ demand and if care in the Veterans Affairs health system is deemed inadequate. The bill is now going to the Senate.

FDA Approves Nonopioid Treatment for Opioid Withdrawal

Lofexidine hydrochloride (Lucemyra) has been approved to help adults manage the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, marking the first FDA-approved nonopioid treatment in the area. According to The Wall Street Journal, the treatment isn’t specifically designed to treat opioid addiction, but it releases norepinephrine, which is believed to play a role in withdrawal symptoms. The drug may lessen the severity of symptoms but may not prevent them completely. The drug is approved for treatment up to 14 days.