Pharmaceutical topics


When almost 750 patients were infected and more than 50 died from contaminated drugs made in compounding pharmacies, state regulators and legislators and federal officials moved to create more enforceable oversight to assure safety of the drug supplies. A federal law, signed November 2013, creates updated standards and safeguards while the FDA also is examining nationwide regulation.




State Laws and Legislation Related to Biologic Medications and Substitution of Biosimilars - an NCSL report on legislation in 23 states, leading to new laws in 8 states.

Provision for “Sunshine Rule” Brings Disclosure by Drug and Device Manufactures. Federal Health Reform includes a less-known provision (Section 6002), called the “National Physician Payment Transparency Program,” or “OPENPAYMENTS”- resukts are released as of October 2014.




Almost 50 percent of Americans take prescription drugs regularly, improving their health or even saving lives. State and federal legislative actions have led to major policy shifts, affecting drug costs, use of brands or generics and patient access and safety. Read reports on Medicaid use of preferred drug lists, new rebates from manufacturers, public and private patient assistance programs, medication adherence and patient education, “sunshine” laws, tighter regulation of safety violations at compounding pharmacies, combating illegal misuse of prescription products and future trends that affect a new generation of  biological medications. Some results are dramatic: total U.S. drug spending was rising at a rate of 10 percent annually a decade ago, but recently the annual increase has slowed to less than 2 percent.


News of Health Reform Activity in the Federal Government. The NCSL Standing Committee on Healthand Human Services met at Fall Forum Dec. 9-12 in Washington,D.C. with sessions on a variety of timely topics. Look for valuable resources and speaker slides from the meeting.


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  • PHARMACEUTICALS: Facts, Policies and NCSL Resources

    This compendium describes a range of facts and policy resources about states and pharmaceuticals. 2014 reports reveal 86% of filled prescriptions are generic products, while specialty drugs prices increased 14-15% in one year.

  • Methadone and Prescription Drug Overdose

    Methadone, a synthetic opioid medication used to treat narcotic drug addiction and to manage pain, has become a significant contributor to prescription drug overdoses. Preferred drug lists in most Medicaid programs identify methadone as a preferred drug for managing chronic pain, but most experts do not recommend it as a first choice.

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