State / Regional

Blue Cross of Alabama to drop OxyContin coverage in 2019

State's largest insurer moves to harder-to-abuse oxycodone alternatives

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's largest health insurer will stop covering OxyContin prescriptions as part of an effort to deter opioid abuse.
    
AL.com reports Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama announced Tuesday that it will stop covering the standard formulation of OxyContin and its generic, oxycodone ER, Jan. 1. The changes are part of the insurer's opioid management strategy for commercial members.
    
The insurer will cover oxycodone alternatives Xtampza ER and Roxybond, which are designed to be more difficult to use. It will also cover Lucemyra, a newly approved non-opioid designed to treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
    
According to Alabama's opioid action plan, there were 741 overdose deaths in 2016. The insurer said in a statement that opioid prescriptions have decreased 18 percent in the last two years, but continued action is needed.
    
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Information from: The Birmingham News, http://www.al.com/birminghamnews

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