What We're Reading: Off-Label Drug Use and Adverse Drug Events

What we're reading, November 3, 2015: off-label drug use is associated with a higher risk of adverse drug events; CMS finalizes its rule for advanced care planning for end-of-life care; and Californians send measure to cut drug prices to the vote.

Off-Label Drug Use Associated With Higher Adverse Drug Event Risk

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggested caution when prescribing drugs for off-label use when there is a lack of strong evidence as the practice is associated with adverse drug events. While the overall rate of adverse drug events for off-label use was higher than that for on-label use, off-label use with strong scientific evidence had the same risk as on-label use. Risk for adverse events were higher for drugs approved between 1981 and 1995, and for those used by women, patients receiving 5 to 7 drugs, and patients receiving cardiovascular drugs.

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CMS Finalizes Rule to Plan for End-of-Life Care

After receiving comments supporting the proposed rule to enable physicians to discuss advance care planning with Medicare beneficiaries, CMS is finalizing the rule. Advanced care discussions about how a patient would like to be care for when they are dying can occur early, before an illness progresses, or during the course of treatment. CMS is also finalizing payment for advance care planning when it is part of the Annual Wellness Visit.

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California Measure Curbing Drug Costs Will Go to Vote

In California, advocates of a proposed measure that would slash drug prices receive more than enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot in November 2016. The proposed measure would require that programs where the state pays for a drug, even if the state did not purchase the drug directly, would pay no more than the price negotiated by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, reported San Jose Mercury News.

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