prescription drugs

Before the spreading coronavirus became a pandemic, Emma went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting every week in the Boston area and to another support group at her methadone clinic. She says she felt safe, secure and never judged.

"No one is thinking, 'Oh my God, she did that?' " says Emma, "'cause they've been there."

It took years for Leslie Miller to find the prescription drug that worked for her. But in December, she got a letter from her insurer that the medicine would no longer be covered by her insurance plan starting January 1.

"My heart started racing immediately," says Miller, a graduate teaching assistant in the University of Oklahoma's sociology department. "I've had this happen before and it's scary."

The coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, is causing businesses, health officials and patients to worry about potential shortages of prescription drugs.

That's because the vast majority of active ingredients in medicines dispensed in the U.S. are made in factories overseas, many in China.

As COVID-19 begins to spread and sicken more people in the United States, federal health officials are recommending people acquire a several-week supply of the prescription drugs they routinely take for chronic conditions. You don't want to be stuck without them if you get sick.

The majority of Americans have health insurance that includes coverage for prescription drugs. But unfortunately that doesn't ensure that they can afford the specific drugs their doctors prescribe for them.

In fact, many Americans report that their insurance plans sometimes don't cover a drug they need — and nearly half the people whom this happens to say they simply don't fill the prescription. That's according to a poll released this month on income inequality from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about Attorney General Mike Hunter filing a lawsuit against major opioid distributors in the state, the governor's task force on corrections reform releases its report while also asking for more time to come up with detailed plans to reduce the state's prison population and two initiative petitions to make recreational marijuana legal in the state are getting push back from the state's medical marijuana industry.

 

Chris Landsberger / The Oklahoman

The legal fight over who is responsible, and who should pay for the national opioid crisis that has killed thousands of Americans will likely take years.

Sentencing is scheduled to begin on Monday in the criminal trial of top executives at Insys Therapeutics. This landmark case was the first successful prosecution of high-ranking pharmaceutical executives linked to the opioid crisis, including onetime billionaire John Kapoor.

There's the crazy that people who don't have a family member with an addiction just don't understand, Henriët Schapelhouman said.

"There's high highs where it looks like, 'Oh, they're better,' because they're pretending really well," she said. "Then, within hours there's a crash because they're using again; there was a fight; they're slamming the door. And you're just heartbroken."

A Decade Marked By Outrage Over Drug Prices

Dec 31, 2019

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., was in the middle of describing drug price gouging as a scheme to enrich a few industry executives at the expense of everyday patients when he stopped to reprimand a witness.

"It's not funny, Mr. Shkreli," said Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform until his death this past October, to a smirking man at the table before him. "People are dying. And they're getting sicker and sicker."

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