drugs

Karen Brown / NEPR/NENC

About a dozen miles off the coast of Cape Cod sits a rustic island named Penikese — part of the Elizabeth island chain. A hundred years ago, Penikese was home to a leper colony, then a school for troubled boys and a bird sanctuary. This past fall, Penikese opened to its newest incarnation — a treatment program for opioid addicts.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / video screen shot

On Tuesday night, I joined a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-sponsored panel of cancer doctors, researchers, and a pharmaceutical industry representative in Pittsburgh to talk specialty drug costs. I shared some of what I've learned reporting on the high cost - and huge benefits - of new hepatitis C treatments. But I learned much more about what drives the high cost of pharmaceuticals, and what health care providers, insurers, government, patients, and drug companies can do to rein in those costs....

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Plans to establish a center where people can go to sober up, instead of the emergency room, have languished for lack of state funding. But a renewed effort to launch the program is underway.

NPR's All Things Considered host Audie Cornish interviewed a prominent cancer doctor Monday about his public criticism of the high cost of cancer drugs. Cornish starts by asking Dr. Leonard Saltz, chief of Gastrointestinal Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to talk about how the high prices of cancer drugs don't seem to be related to their value. Saltz answers that a lot of the drugs being talked about at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, where...

file/CVS Health

Woonsocket-based CVS Health has agreed to acquire a provider of nursing home pharmacy services. The acquisition of Omnicare expands a growing line of business for the pharmacy giant. CVS Health might be known for its retail pharmacies and, now, its walk-in clinics. But the company does big business managing prescription programs for businesses and insurers. Acquiring Omnicare, which provides pharmacy services to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, will allow CVS to tap the growing...

In 2013, the top prescribed drug for Rhode Islanders with Medicare drug plans was Omeprazole , a treatment for heart burn, ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Health care providers wrote about 190,000 prescriptions for it. (Reminder: Medicare is the health benefit plan for people over the age of 65 or disabled adults.) That's followed by atorvastatin calcium (brand name Lipitor), used for lowering cholesterol - prescribed to 27,000 individuals. In Rhode Island, Medicare (including...

Rhode Island is still grappling with soaring numbers of drug overdose deaths, many of them involving the painkiller fentanyl . It's not clear the message about the dangers of fentanyl is reaching those at risk. Since the beginning of the year, health officials say 51 people have died. Most of those deaths involved fentanyl, a drug that can be 50 times more potent than heroin, to which it is sometimes added. But Michelle McKenzie, head of the Miriam Hospital’s overdose prevention program, says...

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials have rolled out a new campaign against drug addiction. The campaign debuts as the state faces more grim statistics: 232 Rhode Islanders died from apparent accidental drug overdoses in 2014, the same number as in 2013. You may see their faces on buses, or hear their voices in public service announcements. They’re people in recovery from addiction. They include Jonathan Goyer, a former addict turned recovery counselor. He said it will take more than advertising to...

Gilead Sciences

Woonsocket-based pharmacy giant CVS has signed a deal with drug maker Gilead to offer its hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni, exclusively, for treating hepatitis C. The deal covers patients enrolled in drug benefit plans managed by CVS. And the news comes on the heels of AbbVie's announcement of a deal with CVS competitor Express Scripts , which will offer AbbVie's hepatitis C treatment, Viekira Pak, exclusively. The driving force behind the escalating competition between Gilead and its...

CVS Health

Second quarter financial results from the Woonsocket-based pharmacy chain CVS Caremark have beat analyst expectations. That’s due in part to new specialty pharmacy business and the opening of more in-store clinics. CVS announced its second quarter earnings rose about 11 percent compared to the same time last year. The country’s biggest pharmacy company chalks that growth up in part to a big boost from specialty pharmaceutical sales. Those include drugs like Sovaldi, the new Hepatitis C...

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

More Rhode Island babies are being born dependent on the opioid drugs (including OxyContin and heroin) their pregnant mothers were taking. Many of these babies need hospital stays and powerful medication to help them through the painful withdrawal. Now, researchers at Women & Infants Hospital are trying to pin down what treatments work best, and what the long-term impacts are. Part one of our two-part series on newborns in withdrawal.
A rough entry into the world (Sound: subtle...

RI Students Arrested for Drug-Laced Candy

Apr 8, 2014

Police say they have made several arrests after a Richmond teenager required medical attention from consuming marijuana-laced candy. One 14-year-old was charged with drug crimes in connection with the incident while another was caught with drug-laced candy and prescription pills. A Chariho High School student was arrested for drug crimes on Monday. Richmond Police Chief Elwood Johnson said the candy could have contained more than just THC. "This is clearly a homemade substance, and it could...

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The rising number of Rhode Islanders struggling with an addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin has brought an increase in babies born addicted to these substances. And Women & Infants Hospital is treating a growing number of them. When adults stop taking opiates like OxyContin or heroin, they go into withdrawal. Babies who have been exposed to these kinds of drugs in the womb can also go into withdrawal, and the effects range from difficulty feeding and excessive crying to...

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health department has issued new emergency regulations designed to make it easier to access a drug called naloxone, used to reverse drug overdoses. The new rules come in response to a spike in deaths from heroin and prescription painkiller overdoses. The health department cited the "imminent peril" to public health that opioids, which include drugs like heroin and the prescription painkillers OxyContin and Percocet, represent. So it published new regulations that allow health...

US Food and Drug Administration

Do you read the labels on food before you buy it? How about on pill bottles, supplements, and other drugs? If some Rhode Island lawmakers have their way, you could be seeing "country of origin" labels on your pharmaceuticals. But would that change your mind about taking a drug, or make you ask your doctor for a different brand? Several state senators introduced a bill supporting "country of origin" labeling for drugs, citing fears that, because so many ingredients in our pharmaceuticals are...

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