What We're Reading: Opioid Lawsuit in Oklahoma; 9/11 Responders, Elevated Leukemia Incidence; MS Treatment Costs

January 14, 2020

Oklahoma is suing 3 major opioid manufacturers for their role in the opioid epidemic; first responders and other workers exposed to carcinogens during 9/11 found to have an elevated incidence of leukemia; cost of MS treatments determine patient financial decisions.

Oklahoma Attorney General Files Suit Against Opioid Distributors

Oklahoma State Attorney General Mike Hunter filed a lawsuit on Monday against 3 companies, McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen, who delivered more than 34 billion doses of narcotics to Oklahoma and the rest of the United States between 2006 and 2012, according to The Washington Post. “To say these companies have blood on their hands is an understatement,” said Hunter. The case alleges the companies failed to halt plainly suspicious drug orders due to the profits generated from these transactions.

Increase in Incidence of Blood Cancer Found Among 9/11 Responders

In a study conducted by New York researchers, first responders and other workers at the World Trade Center site after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were found to have an elevated incidence of leukemia compared with the general population. The Wall Street Journal reports that the findings also suggest that as more time passes from the attacks, researchers may discover increased rates of other cancers in first responders and recovery workers.

Cost of MS Treatments Affects Patient Financial Decisions

According to a survey by the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, the high cost of MS treatments has forced 40% of patients to take drastic actions, such as cutting back or skipping doses, and affected their ability to save for the future. STAT reports that 14% of survey participants switched to a generic, despite being satisfied with their existing treatment; 12% stopped using their medication for a period of time; 9% skipped or delayed filling a prescription; and 8% took less of their medicine than prescribed. Compared with 2004, when patients with MS paid an average $15/month out of pocket, in 2016, they doled out $309/month, which is more than a 20-fold increase in just 12 years.