Florida Blue ending coverage of OxyContin in effort to fight opioid abuse

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Blue announced Wednesday that Oxycontin will no longer be covered in its commercial lines of business starting on January 1st, 2018.

The health insurance giant says it will be replacing Oxycontin with Xtampza ER, a new oxycodone formula developed specifically to prevent drug abuse. Xtampza ER has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration to help manage severe pain that requires long-term treatment.

This change has been brought due to the statewide opioid epidemic Governor Rick Scott declared earlier this year, following the national epidemic declared by the Center for Disease Control. Toxicology results from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission have shown that opioids were present at the time of death in 4,515 Floridians in 2016.

“People who abuse OxyContin typically try to tamper with the drug by crushing it, creating a higher and faster acting dose that can be snorted or injected. This type of consumption can quickly lead to addiction and overdose,” said Scott McClelland, Pharm.D., Vice President of Commercial and Specialty Pharmacy at Florida Blue. “After careful review of the scientific data supporting the abuse-deterrent features of Xtampza ER, we decided to replace OxyContin on the formulary and believe this will be an important step to addressing the opioid epidemic among the people we serve in the state.”

Additional information about Florida Blue’s pharmacy guidelines is available under ‘Medical & Pharmacy Policies and Guidelines’ on floridablue.com.