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.

Why Specialty Drugs Cost So Much, And What To Do About It

Oct 15, 2015
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.

An Alternative To The ER, Sobering Center Still In Works

Jul 10, 2015
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.

What We're Talking About When We Talk About Value

Jun 2, 2015

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.

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.

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.

Are Rhode Islanders Aware Of The Dangers Of Fentanyl?

Mar 20, 2015

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.

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 fight drug addiction.

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.

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.

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 whirring of the nursery)

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.

Women & Infants Sees Surge In Opioid-Addicted Newborns

Apr 2, 2014
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.

New Rules Let Doctors Give Narcan To Friends, Family

Mar 14, 2014
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.

Reading The Labels On Drugs And Food

Feb 27, 2014
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?

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