State House Bill Seeks to Reduce Opioid Abuse

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry is urging employers to contact House members in their area early this week to urge support for H.B. 18, important legislation related to prescription drug and opioid overuse and abuse among injured workers in Pennsylvania, which the House is scheduled to consider Tuesday, June 20.

House Bill 18 would implement a prescription drug formulary – which are standard in hospitals, regular healthcare, Medicare and other public insurance programs – to help ensure appropriate patient care and address over-use of prescription drugs. The bill is necessary because Pennsylvania is facing a prescription drug and opioid abuse epidemic, and seems to struggle particularly with respect to injured workers. As we reported last week in Sentinel, in a recent study of opioid prescriptions among injured workers in 25 states, Pennsylvania ranked third, with opioid use in the Commonwealth measuring 78 percent higher than the median study state. The flexible approach offered through H.B. 18 facilitates more efficient care for typical patients, allows exceptions for unique cases and addresses the outlier cases of over-prescribing.

Prior to a vote by the House Labor and Industry Committee last week, the PA Chamber and a coalition of business, medical, construction, energy and local government groups sent a memo to the committee urging support for the measure because it will help injured workers in Pennsylvania avoid problems too often associated with prescription drug use and get healthy and back to full function and employment as soon as possible.