What We're Reading: Opioid Lawsuits; Medicaid Work Requirements; Alzheimer Trial Adds Patients

February 15, 2018

A combined federal challenge of the role that drug manufacturers and distributors played in the opioid epidemic now has more than 320 lawsuits; Ohio prepares a request to add Medicaid work requirements, while a California lawmaker introduces a bill to block the state from doing so; a trial of an Alzheimer drug is being expanded to add more patients in order to clarify the results.

Growing Number of Opioid Lawsuits

There are now more than 320 lawsuits that have been brought against drug manufacturers and distributors regarding opioids. According to AP, a federal judge in Cleveland is overseeing the consolidated lawsuits and just allowed 12 more into the case. The lawsuits allege that the drug manufacturers and distributors did not do enough to prevent the opioid epidemic and, therefore, should bear responsibility for it.

California and Ohio Address Medicaid Work Requirements

In California, a legislator has introduced a bill that would prevent the state from seeking a waiver to impose work requirements in the Medicaid program. The bill would also bar the state from trying to impose waiting periods or time limits on coverage, reported Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, Ohio is preparing to ask the government to grant permission for the state to add a work requirement. The Columbus Dispatch reported that people over the age of 55, in school or training for work, seeking addiction treatment, or with intensive healthcare needs or serious mental illness would be exempt from the work requirement.

Alzheimer Trial Seeks to Clarify Results

One day after Merck ended its Alzheimer disease trial because the drug had little effect, Biogen announced it would add patients to its trial of aducanumab. Approximately 500 more patients will be added to the trial to help clarify the results of the trial, according to Bloomberg. Biogen’s chief medical officer explained that there was more variability on the primary endpoint than expected. Expanding the trial raises concerns that the results had been poor.