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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2017 10:46 AM
From: Representative Doyle Heffley
To: All House members
Subject: Abuse Deterrent Opioids - Heffley
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation to require insurance plans in the Commonwealth to provide access to abuse deterrent opioids. Last session this legislation was House Bill 1698 and it passed the House on June 23, 2016 with a vote of 190-3.

Abuse-deterrent opioids are pharmaceutical products that have been recently developed that contain abuse-deterrent properties and are designed to be harder to crush, cut, dissolve or inject. My legislation will require health insurance plans to provide coverage for abuse-deterrent opioids and prohibit health plans from implementing “step therapy or fail first” policies on these products.

Many of us have voiced our desperation in the battle against prescription drug abuse. While not a panacea to solve this troubling epidemic, improving access to abuse-deterrent opioids, as my legislation will do, is an important tool in combating prescription drug abuse. The FDA considers the development of abuse-deterrent opioids to be a high public health priority; Pennsylvania can bolster these public health efforts by making sure Pennsylvanians have adequate access to these products.

It is imperative that we seek to ensure that patients suffering from chronic pain get the relief they need while also minimizing the potential for harmful consequences, including costly visits to emergency rooms and the ancillary costs to society, such as law enforcement costs, and even death.

This legislation is a result of recommendations of the Task Force on the proliferation of opioids drugs created by HR 659 of 2014, which I sponsored.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB288