Administration Announces New Funding for Opioid Abuse Epidemic

The White House has announced $53 million in new grants to 44 states to fight the opioid abuse and addiction crisis. The grants will be administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 11 states with the highest rates of primary care admissions to treat opioid abuse will receive $11 million to expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). An additional 12 states will receive up to $11 million to increase the availability of naloxone among first responders. $9 million in grants across 21 states will be used to raise awareness about the harm of sharing prescription medications and the dangers of overprescribing. Additional funds will help expand prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). Administrators stressed that this funding would not adequately address the epidemic, and urged Congress to approve additional funding for addiction treatment.

Whitfield to Resign this Week

Retiring Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) announced that he would be resigning from the House this week instead of serving out the rest of his term, which ends in January 2017. The announcement will set in motion a special election, to be held on the same day as the November general election, for a successor to serve the remaining months of Whitfield’s term. Whitfield serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, including the Subcommittee on Health. He is also a member of the Deadliest Cancers Caucus, the Diabetes Caucus, the House Rural Health Care Coalition, the Nurses Caucus, and the Rare Diseases Caucus.

Mylan Announces Generic Version of EpiPen

Amidst criticism for significant price hikes, makers of the epinephrine auto-injector EpiPen announced the launch of a cheaper, generic version of its own device last week. The generic version will be identical to the brand product in both the device and the drug itself, but with a list price of $300, more than 50 percent less than the branded EpiPen. Mylan expects the product to be launched in several weeks, following completion of changes to the drug label. The decision did not succeed in appeasing lawmakers, who continue to call for a more permanent solution to the problems surrounding competition and affordability of prescription medications.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups

House Committee on the Budget hearing titled “Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation: Scoring Assumptions & Real-World Implications;” 10:00 a.m., 210 Cannon Bldg.; September 7

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing titled “From Tumult to Transformation: The Commission on Care and the Future of the VA Healthcare System;” 10:30 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; September 7

House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing titled “The Evolution of Quality in Medicare Part A;” 2:00 p.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.; September 7

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on health hearing titled “Examining Legislation to Improve Public Health,” which includes H.R. 3119, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act; 10:00 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; September 8

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing titled “An Examination of Federal Mental Health Parity Laws and Regulations;” 9:00 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; September 9

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