Health experts say fentanyl wasn’t available in California to the degree it was in the eastern U.S. until several years ago. The epidemic has unfolded in three waves, says UCSF professor Daniel Ciccarone. “Wave one: pills. Wave two: heroin. Wave three: fentanyl.” News on the opioid epidemic looks at naloxone’s impact on lowering death rates in Massachusetts and investors’ worries over lawsuits, as well.
KQED: San Francisco Fentanyl Deaths Up Almost 150%
Deaths from the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl skyrocketed in San Francisco in 2018, increasing by 147% since the previous year. That’s according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, which released data this week showing that 89 people died from accidental overdoses of fentanyl last year, compared to 36 fentanyl-related deaths in 2017. (Klivans, 8/7)
WBUR: Most Mass. Counties Have Among The Highest Rates Of Dispensing Overdose-Reversal Drug
Massachusetts has among the highest rates of dispensing naloxone, the drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, according to new federal data. Among counties nationwide, Franklin County in western Massachusetts last year had the fourth-highest rate of prescriptions for naloxone — commonly sold under the brand name Narcan — with more than 2,200 prescriptions filled for every 100,000 residents. (Bebinger and Jarmanning, 8/7)
The Wall Street Journal: Opioid Risk Smothers Drug Stocks
Even solid corporate earnings can’t reverse investor angst over drug companies facing opioid litigation risk. Generics manufacturer Teva Pharmaceutical Industries TEVA 3.26% was the latest to experience that. Sales of $4.3 billion and adjusted earnings of 60 cents a share both topped analysts’ expectations. Teva also reaffirmed its full-year guidance. That wasn’t nearly enough to reassure investors. Teva shares fell once again in morning trading and have lost more than half of their value since May. (Grant, 8/7)
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