Do Insurers Share Blame for Opioid Epidemic?

Do Insurers Share Blame for Opioid Epidemic?

In a bizarre twist, many insurance companies are limiting access to pain medications with a low risk of addiction (like Lidocaine, Lyrica and Butrans) while provided easy access to generic opioid medications, as reported by the New York Times.  The reason is simple, it all comes down to cost.  So even as state and federal governments crack down on drug producers and even pharmacies, insurers are undermining that effort.  These are the very same insurers which later create obstacles for people who need to use their health insurance for subsequent addiction treatment.  This all makes it clear that in being “Penny wise and Pound foolish”, the insurance companies are part of the ongoing problem instead of the solution in the growing opioid epidemic.


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