Representative Tom MacArthur, Express Scripts Experts Highlight Solutions for Combatting Opioid Epidemic
Published: Jul 10, 2018
MacArthur, Express Scripts leaders, and a family impacted by opioid addiction, highlight how the public and private sector can work together to fight opioid misuse
FLORENCE, N.J., July 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Representative Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) visited the Express Scripts Pharmacy in Florence, NJ, today to highlight public and private-sector efforts to address the nation's opioid epidemic. Representative MacArthur was joined by Florence Mayor Craig Wilkie, experts from Express Scripts, and the co-founders of Kings Crusade, an organization that works to address the opioid epidemic, which has resulted in more than 2,200 deaths in New Jersey between 2016 and 2017, and is the cause of 115 deaths every day across the nation.
"It's easy to get lost in the numbers, but these numbers highlight how important it is to act against opioid misuse, because behind these numbers is a human tragedy that affects individuals and families," said Representative MacArthur. "We are beginning to find ways to get ahead of this problem, due to coordinated efforts among the public, private and non-profit sectors. Organizations, like Express Scripts, have been leading the way against opioid misuse, through their programs to make opioid use safer, and through their advocacy for common sense policies, such as the use ePrescribing for controlled substances."
Representative MacArthur serves as co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, a group of more than 100 Members of Congress seeking proactive solutions to the opioid crisis. He co-sponsored several bills aimed at curbing the epidemic in southern New Jersey, including the Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2017, the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Accessibility Act of 2017, the Prescriber Support Act of 2017 and the Servicemembers and Veterans Prescription Drug Safety Act.
"The solution for safer opioid prescribing and use is connecting each point of the care continuum: patients, physicians and pharmacists," said Snezana Mahon, PharmD, Vice President of Product Development, Express Scripts. "Through patient education, at-home safe disposal and limits on the type and quantity of medication for first-time patients, our industry first Advanced Opioid Management program minimizes early opioid exposure while helping prevent progression to overuse and abuse."
In the first six months of its comprehensive, guideline-based opioid program, Express Scripts observed a 55 percent reduction in average days' supply per claim for first-time patients, with 93 percent of first-time patients beginning treatment with a 7-day supply or less. In addition, 78 percent of first-time patients who were initially prescribed a long-acting opioid were redirected to a safer, short-acting opioid, as guidelines recommend.
"In addition to addressing safe opioid use at the patient, pharmacy and physician touch points, requiring the use of electronic prescribing and electronic prior authorization for controlled substances can help reduce fraud and misuse associated with these medications," said Mahon. "We're encouraged by recent legislation passed in the U.S. House of Representatives requiring the use of both in Medicare beginning in 2021."
Suzanne Harrison and Anne Gutos, co-founders of Kings Crusade, bravely shared how opioid addiction has impacted their family.
"When we lost our brother, King, to opioid addiction, we chose to turn our grief into action. We created Kings Crusade to help erase the stigma around opioid addiction, and to work with our communities and our leaders to find a solution to help prevent opioid misuse, and to help those who are addicted through a successful recovery," said Harrison.
About Express Scripts
Express Scripts is a healthcare opportunity company. Empowered by our legacy as an industry innovator, we dare to imagine - and deliver - a better healthcare system with improved health outcomes and lower costs. From pharmacy and medical benefits management, to specialty pharmacy care, and everything in between - we uncover opportunities to make healthcare work better.
Our home base is St. Louis, but our reach extends across the nation, helping millions of Americans. We stand alongside those we serve, collaborating with our clients and partners to develop personalized solutions that make a meaningful difference.
We believe healthcare can do more. We are Champions For BetterSM.
Jennifer Luddy, Express Scripts
SOURCE Express Scripts