Florida’s Largest Insurer Not Covering OxyContin To Fight Opioid Abuse

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Florida’s largest health insurance company will stop covering OxyContin as federal officials are declaring a national opioid overdose epidemic.

Starting January 1st, Florida Blue will start covering an alternative opioid that cannot be crushed to use for injection or snorting, possibly reducing its potential for abuse, according to our news partners the Miami Herald.

gettyimages 678211 Floridas Largest Insurer Not Covering OxyContin To Fight Opioid Abuse

The prescription medicine OxyContin is displayed August 21, 2001 at a Walgreens drugstore in Brookline, MA. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

The company says it’s stepping into the issue to prevent opioid abuse and to stem doctors from prescribing more than what patients need of the powerful and addictive opioid.

“We think it’s time for more people, including physicians in our community, the nurses, even the families to take a more proactive approach in trying to manage this epidemic,” said Scott McClelland, vice president of commercial and specialty pharmacy.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has already declared a statewide public health emergency due to a widespread abuse of opioids.

Some of the unused drugs often end up on the street, according to McClelland.

Oxycontin is the brand name version of oxycodone which is used to treat moderate to severe long-term pain. Now, the alternative that will be covered, Xtampza ER, is designed to prevent abuse.

“It makes the street value a lot less because it’s harder to manipulate,” McClelland said.

Last month, Cigna also said it would stop covering OxyContin and cover the alternative.

In 2015, Opioids caused the death of 2,538 Floridians and contributed to the death of 1,358 more people in the state.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news
partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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