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Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Tampa Wednesday talking about efforts to combat the nation's opioid crisis.

Doctors Wary Of Painkiller Prescription Limits

Jan 23, 2018

Surgeons complain it’s too restrictive for patients who undergo major heart surgery or hip replacement. Emergency room doctors gripe they don’t have the time or resources to comply. And pharmacists say it needs to be tweaked.

Doctors at some of the largest U.S. hospital chains admit they went overboard with opioids to make people as pain-free as possible, and now they shoulder part of the blame for the nation’s opioid crisis. To be part of the cure, they’ve begun to issue an uncomfortable warning to patients: You’re going to feel some pain.

Two of Florida’s largest counties, Palm Beach and Broward, have started a process that could take opioid drug makers to court for their roles in the opioid crisis. 

The governor and state lawmakers are proposing new prescription limits to fight opioid abuse.  But they also want to require physicians use a long-standing drug monitoring database—raising the question, why wasn’t it mandatory to begin with?

Senate Bill Seeks To Rein In Prescription Painkillers

Oct 24, 2017

A Senate Republican has filed a sweeping measure aimed at keeping patients from getting hooked on prescription painkillers.

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s response to the state’s opioid crisis is taking shape in the House.

There are few laws in place to keep prescription drug companies from raising their prices to levels unaffordable for many people.

Hospices Grapple With Stolen Meds

Aug 22, 2017

Nothing seemed to help the patient — and hospice staff didn’t know why.

The FDA has issued an advisory and recall for all liquid drug products made at Davie-based drug company PharmaTech. This is the second recall in the last 10 months, including products widely used by infants and toddlers.

The first contamination advisory was issued after Burkholderia cepaci was found in the drug company's water system. B. cepacia,  a bacteria known to cause pneumonia in people with weakened immune systems and cystic fibrosis, among other diseases, has potentially serious effects. The contaminated water was used during the manufacturing of each liquid medication.

Drug For Nerve Pain Boosts High For Opioid Abusers

Jul 6, 2017

On April 5, Ciera Smith sat in a car parked on the gravel driveway of the Rural Women’s Recovery Program here with a choice to make: go to jail or enter treatment for her addiction.

Jane Morse needed to fill a prescription that was going to cost her about $300. She's on Medicare but doesn't have a prescription drug plan so she's learned to shop around.

A bill adding more drugs to Florida’s prescription-medicine price database is heading to Governor Rick Scott’s desk for his signature.

The measure was sponsored by two Jacksonville lawmakers: Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, and Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach.


During a recent trip to the pharmacy, Tampa resident Michael Ruppal was told his medication was no longer covered. He has another month until his annual health insurance contract is up for renewal or cancelation.

It may be hard to pronounce, but medication synchronization is an idea whose time has come, at least according to some Florida lawmakers.

There are many moving parts in the nation’s ongoing health care debate. One of the most embattled at the moment is the pharmaceutical industry. Now those companies have launched a counter-offensive to try and repair their tarnished image.

NCCIH.gov

No law in Florida prevents health insurance companies from changing the cost of a patient's prescription drugs -or from dropping coverage all together of that drug - in the middle of a 12-month contract.

But a bill filed in the Florida legislature forces insurers to stick by those contracts.

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

Saturday was the Drug Enforcement Administration's National "Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative."

Local law enforcement agencies likes the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office and the Tampa Police Department collected unused prescription pills at various locations. The goal was to keep those medicines from getting into the wrong hands. 

Florida Stores Help Consumers Buy Imported Drugs Despite Federal Ban

Jun 7, 2016

A hardy market for imported low-cost prescription drugs has taken root in Florida, nourished by older Americans and tolerant regulators.

CDC Guidelines Aim To Curb Painkiller Prescribing

Mar 16, 2016

Prescription painkillers should not be a first choice for treating common ailments like back pain and arthritis, according to new federal guidelines designed to reshape how doctors prescribe drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin.

Americans from across the political spectrum are worried about the cost of prescription drugs for serious diseases, following weeks of news coverage about companies hiking prices for critical medicines.

Feds, Pharmacies Grapple With Pain Pill Dilemma

Oct 2, 2015

Susan Langston wiped away tears as she spoke of a 40-year-old woman who had struggled with cancer for a decade before a Fort Myers pharmacy refused to fill a prescription for pain medication.

Florida insurance regulators will start reviewing health plans for discriminatory practices after three insurers were accused of charging higher prices for HIV drugs.

FL Docs Among Top Tranquilizer Prescribers

Jun 11, 2015

In 2012, Medicare’s massive prescription drug program didn’t spend a penny on popular tranquilizers such as Valium, Xanax and Ativan.

The following year, it doled out more than $377 million for the drugs.

While it might appear that an epidemic of anxiety swept the nation’s Medicare enrollees, the spike actually reflects a failed policy initiative by Congress.

A database that tracks oxycodone and other controlled substances in Florida is being credited with a 25 percent drop in overdose deaths.

In 2011, the state created the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program so doctors and pharmacists could see if patients were doctor shopping, or getting care from multiple doctors without their awareness,  for prescription drugs.

Mitchell Layton / Getty Images

Federal drug enforcement agents showed up unannounced Sunday to check at least two visiting NFL teams’ medical staffs, including that of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as part of an investigation into former players’ claims that teams mishandled prescription drugs.

Bay News 9

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Saturday it is investigating 2,600 cases handled by a Pensacola-based agency chemist after discovering dozens of instances where prescription pain pills that were seized by police and tested as evidence were swapped with over-the-counter pills.

FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said the chemist handled cases involving 80 law enforcement agencies from 35 counties since he was hired in 2006. Most, but not all, of the cases involved testing drug evidence, though it was not immediately clear how many cases might be compromised.

Drug Database Changes on Life Support

Jan 15, 2014

A move to make it harder for investigators to get access to a statewide prescription-drug database is in trouble.

Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean, who's pushing the changes, on Tuesday pulled the measure (SB 7016) from his committee's agenda, citing concerns of Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican who also serves on the committee.

tungphoto / freedigitalphotos.net

Prescription drug abuse is at its lowest rate since 2002, according to new findings from the national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. And authorities want to keep it that way.

To make sure unused drugs don't fall into the wrong hands, the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages the public to participate in the fifth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tampa Bay residents can drop off leftover and expired meds at these locations: