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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 16, 2016 12:59 PM
From: Senator Gene Yaw
To: All Senate members
Subject: Abuse Deterrent Opioid Legislation
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to require that insurance plans provide access to abuse-deterrent opioid analgesic drugs, and apply cost-sharing provisions for these products at the same level as the cost-sharing applied to other brand name and generic drugs covered under the insurance plans’ formularies. The legislation is similar to House Bill 1698.

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.

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative research agency of the General Assembly, has held nine public hearings on the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing the Commonwealth. During the hearings, testimony offered indicated that approximately 80 percent of heroin addicts can trace their addiction back to prescription opioids.

Further, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed sobering statistics (as its 2015 report indicated) that heroin overdose deaths in the United States, fueled by lower heroin prices and the increased abuse of prescription opiate painkillers, nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013. According to the CDC, reversing these trends will require a wide-ranging response from multiple partners, from improving opioid prescribing practices and expanding access to effective treatment, to working with law enforcement to disrupt the heroin supply, to increasing the use of medications, such as naloxone, to reverse drug overdoses.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB1305