Access to innovative medicines critical to curbing improper opioid use and addiction

Frankfort, Ky. (March 24, 2016) – Today the Kentucky Life Sciences Council (KLSC), the Commonwealth’s leader in developing the life sciences industry, called on the State Senate to bring House Bill 330 to passage this session.

“Innovations in the health care industry have provided patients and providers with new medicines to treat pain more effectively,” said Dr. Kyle Keeney, president and CEO of the Kentucky Life Sciences Council. “Unfortunately, people have found ways to misuse and abuse these medicines. In Kentucky, we now face a very serious prescription drug abuse epidemic that is taking lives and hurting our communities.”

House Bill 330 seeks to address this epidemic by increasing access to a new type of prescription medicine that has entered the market in recent years, thanks to advances in science in and medicine. Abuse-deterrent opioids—commonly referred to as ADOs—are reformulated versions of common opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine. ADOs have built-in technology that prevents potential abusers from crushing, injecting or smoking the medication, while still providing pain relief to patients with legitimate medical needs.

“ADOs could significantly lower abuse and addiction rates throughout Kentucky, but patients must be able to access them through their health plans. Despite the many proven benefits of ADOs, many Kentucky insurers currently refuse to cover them because they are, in some cases, more expensive than the non-abuse-deterrent formulations,” said Keeney. “In reality, this difference in cost is a small price to pay if it means saving lives and stopping prescription drug abuse in the Commonwealth.”

House Bill 330 passed the House last week with a 94 to 1 vote. Despite broad bipartisan support, the legislation has still not been called in the Senate.

“There have been many efforts over the years to curb prescription drug abuse and addiction—some of them more effective than others,” said Keeney. “Abuse-deterrent opioids represent an innovative approach, built on scientific research, to truly help Kentucky reverse this longstanding and dangerous trend once and for all. I strongly encourage our senators to bring House Bill 330 to the floor and pass this critical legislation in 2016.”

About KLSC
The Kentucky Life Sciences Council (KLSC) is a statewide association focused on developing the life science industry in Kentucky. KLSC works to educate both state and federal policymakers, the media, and the public about how legislative policies will affect the growth and development of the life sciences industry.