What We're Reading: Opioid Restrictions Hurt Those Who Need the Drugs Most

What we're reading, June 7, 2016: opioid restrictions disproportionately affect older patients with chronic pain; Genentech and OSI Pharmaceuticals settle Tarceva lawsuit; and trouble raising Zika virus funds.

With a growing opioid epidemic, new restrictions are making it more difficult to obtain painkillers. Unfortunately, while abuse and misuse of opioids is higher among younger patients, restrictions are disproportionately affecting the elderly, who rely on opioids for chronic pain, reported The New York Times. Older patients are more likely to have painful musculoskeletal disorders, nerve damage, and surgery, and they need treatment to deal with the pain they feel. Unfortunately, this population is also more likely to suffer the ill effects of these drugs, so physicians are left pondering the trade-offs.

Genentech and OSI Pharmaceuticals are paying $67 million to settle a lawsuit over the drug Tarceva. According to the AP, the lawsuit involved allegations that the 2 companies misled physicians about the effectiveness of the lung cancer drug. Neither company is acknowledging wrongdoing.

Raising funds to fight the Zika virus outbreak has been difficult. While the world is alarmed by Zika, and the devastating birth defects it causes, Congress has not approved funding for the United States, the World Health Organization has received a small fraction of the money it requested, and the United Nations isn’t receiving much money either, reported STAT. The problem is that the majority of people affected by Zika show no or mild symptoms, and following the Ebola crisis, donors are fatigued.