What We're Reading: Smaller ACA Premium Increases; Charity in Opioid-Stricken Areas; Gambling With Abilify

Major insurers are now seeking smaller, single-digit premium increases for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans; drug makers and distributors of painkillers being sued for their alleged role in the opioid crisis are trying to build goodwill by giving grants and donations to hard-hit counties, cities, and states that are filing the lawsuits; hundreds of people have sued Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka, alleging that the drug Abilify caused compulsive behavior.

Insurers Seek Smaller Premium Increases on ACA Plans

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace may finally be stabilizing. For years, insurers have made large hikes to premiums for ACA plans, but major insurers are now seeking smaller single-digit increases, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some big insurers in Texas, Illinois, Arizona, and North Carolina are even seeking reductions. However, there are still plans that will see large increases to reflect the health of the members they are serving.

Facing Lawsuits, Drug Companies Give Back to Communities Hit by Opioid Crisis

Communities across the country are filing lawsuits against drug makers and distributors of painkillers for their alleged role in the ongoing opioid epidemic. Now, these same companies are giving grants and donations to those very same communities, cities, and states. Bloomberg reported that the companies are not only trying to build goodwill ahead of potential settlements, but the charity could help them reduce their tax bills. For the areas hit by the opioid epidemic, the money is going to things like prevention programs.

Abilify Users Claim the Drug Caused Compulsive Behavior

Hundreds of people have sued Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka, alleging that their drug aripiprazole (Abilify) caused compulsive behavior. The lawsuits claim the drug, an antipsychotic, caused them to gamble, eat, or have sex compulsively, reported STAT. The exact reason why the drug causes such behavior in a handful of the millions of people who take the drug has not been discovered yet. The FDA issued a safety warning in 2016 acknowledging that some patients have reported these uncontrollable urges. Abilify was first approved to treat schizophrenia and has since been approved to treat bipolar disorder, irritability associated with autistic disorder, Tourette syndrome, and major depressive disorder.