The opioid crisis has grown exponentially – ravaging communities and taking an estimated 64,000 lives each year – escalating into a public health epidemic. In response to the increased availability of synthetic opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl, the Surgeon General called for expanded access to the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone, by using the slogan: Be Prepared. Get Naloxone. Save a life.
The patient was on the state Medicaid insurance and required a so-called prior authorization, or PA, for Ciprofloxacin. Consisting of additional paperwork that physicians are required to fill out before pharmacists can fill prescriptions for certain drugs, PAs boil down to yet another cost-cutting measure implemented by insurers to stand between patients and certain costly drugs.
Prior Authorizations: Who is Responsible for the Death of a Patient when Insurers Practice Medicine?
In July, 2009, the family of Massachusetts teenager Yarushka Rivera went to their local Walgreens to pick up Topomax, an anti-seizure drug that had been keeping her epilepsy in check for years. Rivera had insurance coverage through MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid insurance program for low-income children, and never ran into obstacles obtaining this life-saving medication.